Tag Archives: landscape photography

Just. Sounds. Terrible.

White Trees, Series 1, No. 9.

I’ve been listening lately to the photography podcast “F-Stop Collaborate and Listen” by Matt Payne.  It’s a great podcast, I really recommend it if you are a landscape photographer.  Every week he interviews a different landscape photographer, often a full-time working professional, on a variety of topics in current landscape photography.  Being pretty much an outsider, I’ve learned a lot about how this field works and who some of the personalities within it are.

One topic that comes up over and over is social media.  If you want to be a professional landscape photographer starting out today, I gather that social media is critical to succeeding.  Myself, I have virtually no social media presence, so I can’t really speak from firsthand knowledge, but I have to say it just… sounds… terrible.

First, as near as I can tell, the consensus seems to be that social media for photography is basically a big, hothouse, echo chamber.  It appears to reward the posting of essentially the same kinds of images over and over (the same locations, from the same viewpoints, under the same kinds of lighting conditions, etc.), typically in the form of a grand landscape in bold colors.  Since I photograph in black and white, often in anonymous locations and with somewhat subdued subject matter, it seems to me my photography might not have a place in this kind of environment.

Second, I get the impression there’s a lot of hostility in social media.  Say the wrong thing online, even with good intentions or by virtue of simple mistake, and you run the risk of being slammed with a backlash of vitriol and negativity.  While I realize that I’m an outlier, I’ll confess that I find people unpredictable and volatile under the best of circumstances.  I certainly would not want to expose myself to the ire of thousands of strangers online.

So, I used to think of my lack of presence on social media as a bit of a personal failure.  And really, it probably is – if someone wanted to magically offer me 100,000 followers on Facebook, I’d have a hard time saying no.  But given what I’ve learned about how social media works from listening to interviews with the pros, I do feel less bad about not being engaged with it.

Posted in Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , |

29 to 16

Great Sand Dunes National Park No. 3

Upon adding the image in this post, “Great Sand Dunes National Park No. 3,” to this website, I realized that the ratio of images in my Landscape and Nature gallery to the combined number of images in all of my other galleries is 29 to 16.  This is nearly 2 to 1!  It may surprise you to learn that I don’t really think of myself as a landscape photographer.  If you look in my other galleries, you’ll see that I have interests in architecture, abstracts, and other areas, too.  While it’s true that I really love landscape photography, I don’t think that I love it nearly twice as much as all of my other photography interests combined.  So how have I ended up with so many landscape images in my portfolio to date?

I think it’s because landscape photography really is difficult!  Not so much on the technical side of operating the camera, editing the images, etc. (although landscape photography poses its own challenges in these areas, just like other areas of photography do).  I mean more on the logistical side of being in the right place at the right time.

Take architecture, for example.  If you don’t like the angle you have on your subject, odds are you can move a few feet in either direction and really change your composition.  With big landscapes like the one here, you often have to measure in increments of miles to change your composition.

Or consider things like still lifes, where often you can control the environment of your subject.  With landscapes, you really are at the mercy of the elements.  Not that there isn’t great landscape photography available under just about all conditions, but the name of the game is to be adaptable and really open to seeing the possibilities around you when you’re faced with circumstances you weren’t expecting.

I certainly don’t mean to imply that landscape photography is more challenging than other photographic disciplines.  It’s more that I’ve found it more challenging for me, individually, than I had expected.  Whatever limited skill and accomplishment I’ve achieved to this point has taken a longer climb up the learning curve than I’ve experienced for other types of photography.

I also should point out that I don’t regret the investment I’ve made in landscape photography at all, and I wouldn’t change my approach if I could.  Not only do I sincerely love landscapes and am very happy to have had the opportunity to build a portfolio in this area, but the learning experience has been tremendous, with many skills that are transferable to other areas of photography.  While I didn’t really plan to invest so much time in this area, I trust my instincts and am happy to roll along whatever photographic path they take me down (and you should, too!).

So why so many landscape images?  When faced with a challenge, particularly for something that I personally want to achieve something in, it’s hard for me to back down.  While I hope to even out the ratio of subject matter in my portfolio in the future, I think that’s why I’ve been doing so many landscapes in the recent past.

Posted in Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , |