Landscape Photography Tips That Have Nothing to Do With Gear (4)

August 20, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


My last non-Camera gear related tip dealt with planning a shoot. But what happens after you actually arrive at the location doesn't always go according to plan.  

Having a Good Attitude and being flexible is crucial to successfully getting the shot because let’s face it – things go wrong. Super wrong. All the time.  I wouldn't have nearly as many stories to tell around the dinner table if things went right.  (It's one of the biggest reasons I have this blog in the first place)

The following events preceded this nice serene looking photo: SolitudeSolitude

Peaceful looking pictures must mean it was a peaceful place right?  Not always...

1.  I enjoy a lovely peaceful morning drive out to the lake, I appear to be the last person on earth. The highway is mine and mine alone. Open road. Coffee. Freedom.
2. In the distance, headlights appear. A comically large convoy is moving on the horizon and soon, no less than 30 photographers join me in the parking lot one by one by one.
3. Someone shines a flashlight in my face. I am not the droid they're looking for. I am now also slightly blind.

4. Swerving, stumbling and swearing, I valiantly fight my way through the thorny bramble to reach the lake side.
5. Arranging a piece of foreground interest in the water and feeling confident in my rubber boots, I overstep their limits and fill them with freezing cold water. Soon after I crouch down and inadvertently dip my bum in the lake to ensure it matches my socks.
6. A sewage truck shows up shattering any semblance of serenity in the mountains when it loudly begins to pump the outhouses.
7.  I take a somewhat crappy photo

Bow LakeBow Lake
Exhibit A: Somewhat crappy photo

8.  Speaking of crap, the smell emanating from the sewage truck seeps into my nostrils. 
9. I leave my breakfast in the bushes. Classy.
10. I discover a wide, paved pathway from the lake side to the parking lot and hope nobody recognizes me as the idiot who recently tried to fight through the thorny bushes.
11. I abandon my composition to move 300 metres up the road in search of a bit of peace and quiet and find it located conveniently next to suitable foreground interest.

Despite all the inconveniences, I found the whole situation to be amusing and managed to have a blast. I had beautiful scenery and a working camera, there's little else I need in life. 

Having a positive state of mind will not only help you enjoy the shoot despite its shortcomings, but it might help you see past a failed attempt towards an even better shot. 

When I fall in a creek I don’t let it ruin my day, pack up and go home - I laugh about it, change my pants in front of a tourist bus, laugh even more about the embarrassing moment and then spend the rest of my day happily taking pictures, even if they are only pants-less selfies.   

Right in line with a positive attitude is flexibility, I usually have a loose plan in mind for any given location which I can use as a jumping off point.  I’ll get the shot I’m after and then spend some time exploring other options I may not have thought about. Often it’s the shots that present themselves later on that have a greater impact.

What if you were so intent on photographing a spectacular sunrise in the mountains that you didn't bother to look around you and missed out on photographing something amazing.  Let's say, Bigfoot, who was on fire.  Right - Bigfoot on fire ran right past you, and you missed it because your camera was pointed at a mountain that's been there every day in the same place for millions of years.  A hard way to learn that you need to be flexible, be ready.

Remember not to be so focused on the shot you’re after that you lose sight of what’s around you!


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