Why Landscape Photography - Jeff Evans

.....Started writing this, got about 3/4 in and it all disappeared.  Guess I grab a Spacedust and go for take two...


Why landscape photography? Portrait and event photography has the clients, sports photography has the action and star power, and news has the power of relevancy. So what does landscape have and why is this my style of choice?  Simple, the gratifying payoff. Let me explain.

With the example of portrait photography, you control the whole setting. That is not to say you are less creative, in fact I think the more control you have the more creative you can be. However with more control you can lose that urgency and drive to find "that moment".  You control the lighting, you control the subject, the only thing you don't control is your limitations on how long you wish to keep creating to find the shot you are looking for. 

In sports you do have less control.  You are at the mercy of the game. But it is a mass quantity photo game.  Essentially its the shotgun approach. Put yourself in the right spot and keep firing until you hit something. Now again here you are no less creative. You have to have situational awareness, put yourself in the best position.  Don't stand in the opposing endzone when the other team is about to score on the other end of the field.  At the end of the day it is still a mass quantity point and shoot.  Landscape...landscape in my opinion is very different.

For one, you have 0 control. Weather can change in a matter of moments, and all it takes is 1 small cloud to completely change your scene entirely. As for shooting style, with the dynamic lighting and depth of field a quick blast of shots wont do and you may only get 1 chance for the 20 or 30 second exposure you need. It takes planning, luck, efficiency and skill to make photos work in landscape .

Without luck, mother nature can swoop in and ruin your scene. without planning you can put yourself in the best situation to capitalize on the  setting the elements give you.  Cant get a sunrise shot if you don't know when sunrise is. Without efficiency, you will never be able to put all of the photography elements together in a timely manner to capture the moments. And without skill, you wont be able to combine all these elements, and if one element is out of wack, the whole shot may be ruined and never captured again.  Now for story time to drive the point home...also the Space Dust has been delicious

A few years back I took a trip to the Sedona area for some photos. Above is one of the shots I took on that trip.  Now for this trip I spent days researching trails and locations that might offer good results. I researched the times sunrise and sunsets, moon rise and moon sets, hell i even looked up Milky Way locations for this trip (planning). I trained, going on runs, testing my pack weights, and took note of key times to make sure I would be in the right place at the right time (efficiency). I studied HDR, filter use, camera settings, and many other facets to make sure I knew the technical side (skilled).  And in the example of the shot above....I hiked this mountain every day for 4 days to wait for the right conditions. Thankfully on day for the elements behaved as best they would (Luck).

One could argue that all other styles could emulate this process. but i think the path from point A to point B of this shot could never be truly emulated.  More importantly as I  said from the start the best perk of landscape photography was its gratification. And I can promise, while nowhere near my best work, this was and incredibly gratifying shot given the work that went in to finding and executing it. 

Its a process I don't think  i could find or could see as more rewarding in any other pursuit



Thank you all for listening/reading. Again I hold all my fellow photographers in high regard so if you feel i have bashed on you tonight or any night I do apologize.  All are welcome to comment on your thoughts below as well.