I have been taking landscape photographs for around 4 and a half years now, still a relative newcomer by most standards. In that short period of time I have gone from a complete newcomer to the genre, to a confident landscape photographer who think he knows it all. It has only been in the recent months I have started to realise I don’t know as much as I thought I did.
For me, landscape photography has always been about golden light and big vistas. I have always been drawn to wide scenes, normally well known, and normally featuring water in one way or another. Just browsing my albums will show lots of colour and lots of images shooting into the sun. Having spent a good few years doing this it started to get a little stagnant. I felt myself spending too much time stood in one spot, waiting for the moment of perfect light to come, and feeling disappointed if it wasn’t to be. A sunrise without mist was a travesty. The problem I found with this mentality is that these perfect conditions don’t come around often. I was starting to get bored of the “pretty landscape”.
With my passion for photography failing fast I had to come up with a solution. During a chat with fellow photographers Greg Whitton, Lee Acaster and Karl Mortimer they suggested I might benefit from a workshop with a photographer who’s work I admire. I scoffed at the thought of this initially. What could someone else teach me that I didn’t already know? In my mind I was already a perfectly good photographer, I was just lacking motivation. A few weeks later I spotted an advert on Facebook for workshops with Paul Mitchell. Paul is a master of the woodland so I decided to pop him an email to see if he would take me on a 1-2-1 workshop in my local patch, Savernake Forest. A date was set and a month or so later Paul was helping me see the wood for the trees and showing me how to take images I have only marvelled at before.
My chat with Greg, Lee and Karl was suddenly making sense. I was capable of taking an image, but I needed more, I needed vision. I needed to find a direction I could move in that would take me down a new path. I must add I have nothing against wide vistas, and I will carry on shooting them. It’s just great to be able to see compositions in different ways. Every time I head out with the camera now I can feel my brain working. I’m trying to come up with compositions in locations that would have been alien to me just a month or two ago. I have set myself a task to take as many photographs as possible during the autumn that contain no sky, and I’m thoroughly enjoying photography again. My motivation is at an all time high.
This post isn’t designed to preach, nor tell you what is right or wrong. I’m still a huge fan of golden hour vistas, but I’m also learning to appreciate a new kind of photography, for me. If you’re stuck in a similar position then I hope this will inspire you to take the positive steps required to improve.
Below are some images taken in the past month or so.
Special thanks to Greg, Paul, Lee and Karl.