What drives you to travel, hike and camp for landscape photography? How do your emotions affect what you shoot and how does the result turn out?
Landscape photographers have different stories behind why and how they chose to become landscape photographers. Not everyone has woken up one day thinking they were going to travel thousands of miles, walk for hours and hours, and live their most passionate life outdoors. Although the love of the outdoors and the process of creating breathtaking images connects us all, we all have different reasons that fuel our passion for landscape photography.
When I started photography, the general idea was refreshing. I was young and running away from a completely different life, where making music was my world. I tried photography after a very mild urge, and I felt like I had a whole new voice. For years I tried different types of photography. Some were fulfilling and energizing, while others just felt exhausting. For about half a decade, I thought I was just trying things out as I learned more about myself and what part of me would shape the creative work that I would later pour all my energy into.
After half a decade, I realized that it was landscape photography that made me feel most comfortable and inspired. I have found that the process of shooting allows me to witness the world as it changes before my eyes, and being able to capture that and share the footage with people has given me a sense of much deeper fulfillment. It’s as if photographing places and being able to infuse creativity and interpretation into the images becomes my voice much more resonant. Almost a decade of doing this, learning more and experimenting with methods has made the creative process not only enjoyable but, more importantly, expressive.
An inconvenient truth that any landscape photographer will realize at some point is that the image you want to create almost never presents itself entirely to you. As you progress in learning technical shooting skills and enrich your artistic vision, you will find that the most essential part of photography is seeing the potential. As we research our locations and vantage points, we research potential things that can happen and potential techniques we can use to deliver a unique and impactful interpretation of what we are filming. By being able to identify these location and environment factors, we plan and execute how we transform the image from a simple snapshot into something we can call art.
Find a purpose
Landscape photography is no picnic. Some of the most rewarding places to see and photograph often require a lot of legwork, long hours of planning and anticipation, and countless logistical factors that affect business success. Through it all, we still insist on spending time, money, and energy to keep exploring and photographing the world, and it’s most likely because of the purpose we find for everything we do. Most landscape photographers would agree that the purpose of all endeavor goes far beyond simply taking a picture. Many would say that the process overall gives them the ultimate satisfaction. Some photographers relish the experience of having to deal with uncertainty and overcome obstacles to consistently come up with a compelling image. Some, myself included, will say that shooting landscapes and fine-tuning the images allows them to express and share a part of themselves with their audience.
Expression and storytelling
How do we express ourselves through photographs of places? How do we tell stories with our images? The answer lies in the viewer’s experience of seeing our photographs. How a photograph grabs someone’s attention, prompting them to look deeper into the whole picture, and the emotions triggered by this process are what allow them to create stories in their head. The emotions they feel looking at the photographs act as subtle little seeds that grow into their own interpretation when they relate their emotions to something applicable to them. Storytelling in landscape photography is not so much about telling something that happened, but rather can be described as tapping into a person’s emotions and their associated experiences.
So how do you infuse emotion into landscape photography? The easiest way is to tap into how you feel when capturing the image yourself. The limits of what our cameras can record may prevent us from fully completing the process at the press of the button, but being able to preserve that emotion that will result in something you envision can help you render the image later. a way that best expresses that emotion. It’s safe to assume that most of us take landscape photos for reasons other than just taking pictures. Many landscape photographers enjoy the process of exploring new places, others enjoy the experience of watching things unfold and the environment change. Whatever part you enjoy the most, traveling miles and miles from your comfort zone means there’s something about the process that triggers an emotion strong enough in you that you seek it out over and over again. . Being able to share and convey that emotion can definitely make you an effective visual artist and storyteller.
On the other hand, the emotion can take shape much later. Various photographers have different ways of dealing with the collective set of images taken from a shot and perhaps a common practice is to have different versions of similar photos. Landscape photographers don’t always have the luxury of being able to go out and shoot whenever they feel like creating, which is why in many cases a distinct creative process occurs when we revisit our images. When we take these photos, we exploit the potential of the scene, and when we process and reprocess these images with different treatments, we can use them to illustrate how we feel at that moment. Each color and the way they interact with each other, the different textures and harmony of contrasts, the use of space and the context of scale merge into one complex experience. The way we design the viewer’s experience in order to transport them to the place and radiate our own emotional response to the scene allows us to elicit a similar feeling and convey the emotion to them.
Storytelling in landscape photography is not as straightforward and direct as other genres of photography and other art forms. However, beyond the beauty of a place and the curiosity it arouses, an expressively executed landscape photograph can transport the viewer to a whole new perspective and convey a very unique emotion.