You know, nature and landscape photography seems to be one of the most popular genres when I ask my students what type of photography do you want to get involved in? And I think a lot of people idealize what it's like to be out there taking these pictures a lot of people are inspired their like wow, I would love to be there and they often oversimplify it in fact they do that with photography to everything in my opinion but especially a nature photography all you have to do is just go to a great location and take a picture I mean, how hard is nature and landscape photography? Well, I have to admit that I really enjoy it it's a great way to experience the world and I think there's a lot of lessons that you learn through nature and landscape photography that could be applied to life as we will talk about the unexpected and how to deal with that and planning your your journeys and so forth and so on it's something that I very much enjoy it's a great way to go out and practice and enjoy the...
world had getting from great photos now I'm going to begin out on a very negative note here okay let's just get to the bad stuff all right what's bad about nature and landscape photography at this point in time is basically everything's been shot all right, so don't feel like you're going to go out and photograph this grand new landscape that nobody has ever seen. All right, there are no grand canyon's left for us to discover, and every once in a while you'll meet an old codger, the photographer, and he'll come along, you'll be like, you know, I used to shoot that back thirty years ago when there wasn't a road there and nobody knew about it and only secret photographers with pass information and only those people know what now everybody's going there and it's been ruined, and I'm kind of like, well, I'm sorry I wasn't born thirty years earlier and carrying a camera up there when I was two years old on dh, so you're you're not going to build a photograph for a new stuff next day. The photos do not reflect the experience a lot of people travel, and they get very excited, like, wow, this is a new environment, and they just, you know, they take a picture of what they saw and they get home and they're like it was better than this. I don't know for some reason, this isn't living up to what I experience, and you do have to be able to separate your personal emotions from what's going on. Now you can use your personal emotions for inspiration I'm excited I'm willing to wake up at four thirty in the morning to get out there and be in the right spot that's where you want to channel your emotions but when you're out there you've got to be cold calculating saying, well, how this isn't quite right because there's a tree in the way so I'm going to have to move over you have to be very, very critical out there. The next bad element is it takes way more effort than most people would expect most people as I'd say, simplify this far too greatly and kind of the catch on this is like, well, okay, I really want to do this well, so I'm going to put out a lot of effort and the problem is is that just because you put out a lot of effort does not mean you're going to get a good quality photograph you can say, well, I'm going to drive here and I'm gonna get up at this point in the morning and I'm going to do is for five days in a row and you could be rained out for five days in a row and end up with not a single shot that you were hoping to get and so you have to be willing to put in the effort without expecting any result in some ways next a photographic agenda conflicts with everything else there's a lot of reasons why you might want to go to a national park for instance I go there maybe to spend time with family, family and friends and if you're trying to take good photos it's really hard if you're toting two kids along and you're trying to set up a shot or if you're meeting your friends and they want to go out and hit the bar afterwards but you're like what no I want to shoot some star trails you're not going to able to hang out with your friends if you want to get those shots so another reason that I like to go to these parks as I like to hike and I like to get some exercise I want to climb up a mountain and stopping to take photos doesn't always work on that same agenda and you can occasionally I know I did a whole project where I was working on photographing what it's like to climb mount rainier and me and my buddy who was doing this project we really had to figure in okay well how much time can we dedicate to photography because we gotta pay attention to safety and actually climbing the mountain and getting all that dud and so you have very small windows for photography so those are some of the bad things let's let's switch this around let's get to the good stuff about photography okay, this is a slot canyon down in arizona. Arizona there's probably been hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people that have gone down in these canyons. And you know what? I don't care. I want to go down to him myself. I want to have my own experience. I want to see it with my own eyes. I want to take my own pictures. They may look like somebody else is, but I want to have my own experience there because that is going to help me grow as a photographer and in some ways as a humanist, well, enjoying and experiencing these new places. All right? You can also well go back on that the world is in constant change. And so, while you can't go photograph something that's totally new, I challenge anyone to go out and take this exact same photograph. It's going to be virtually impossible getting the exact wave on the water with the exact wind at that exact curve. And so everything is constantly changing. Remember the first photo that I opened up with? This is a photo that I took it mount rainier about twenty years ago when I was working on this climbing project and I went back there. Just this summer because I wanted to re photograph it because I have a new hairdo now and I thought I should have a more recent up to date photograph and the problem is is that trail is no longer there the lake and the shoreline has changed and little did I know what at that time that you could never take that photo again unless there's a new trail at some point in the future which there may be and so things are constantly and changing nature and you know never know when certain things are going to change the quality of cameras and lenses just keeps getting better and better and it is amazing what we can do I use a tilt shift lands and I'm able to take a photograph that is as sharp and as detailed as many four by five photographs that were taken many many years ago because the quality of digital has caught up with so much of the film of the past and I can travel lighter and faster because I can go further and you can make bigger enlargements and the quality is just incredible especially with the new marylise cameras these days you can really have small size cameras and carry him very easily into the back country so that part is continually getting better and finally most importantly I think your perspective is unique your take on the world you know this is ah hillside down in yellowstone and I wonder how many people driving down that road would have stopped their car to get this photograph. Some not all. But your perspective is different than mine. And when you walk down a trail and take photos, you're going to get a completely different set that myself. And I love looking at other photographers work, because I always ask myself, would I have seen that? What? I have shot that, like, they shot it. And that inspires me to broaden the types of photographs that I take in what I look at and how I look at different aspects.