The journey of discovery…
One of the joys of photography is that of discovery.
Every time I get out of town there is always an uncertainty about what kind of images that I will find and find is the operative word.
When I rediscovered landscape photography over ten years ago every trip out of town was new and exciting. Every new gravel road travelled had exciting possibilities. Every turn, maybe a great discovery.
Ten years later the same roads that were new and exciting are now known to me like my own back yard. I know that the next corner will have an empty field, or a grain silo or a spattering of poplar trees. The funny thing is that the sense of discovery and excitement is still there. So what gives?
Long ago I figured out that the further I travelled from home did not guarantee that the pictures that I brought home would be better.
You see, landscapes are not just about the trees in front of you or the breathtaking moutains on the horizon. Landscapes are the weather, the land and the light all combined to create something unique from one day to the next.
Sometimes that next great landscape won’t be hollering to you, “Pick me, pick me”. Sometimes, in fact many times you actively have to search and look carefully for that image and with practice it becomes easier and easier until it is second nature.
An example. My wife was still in the hospital yesterday from her fall at work. On the day that she was to be discharged an ECG technician came in to the room to take one last ECG before she was discharged.
As we talked to the technician, he quickly set up the electrodes. It took seconds literally. With the ECG machine going my wife who has been a nurse for almost thirty years marvelled at how clean the read out was on the machine. That is there were no “artifacts” which are a result of an improperly placed lead.
When my wife complimented the technician on how quick he was and clean the reading was he modestly replied that when you do it a million times it becomes second nature.
And that is exactly how the act of discovery works. Do it over and over and over again, culling out the weak images and keeping the better ones and discovery will become second nature to you too.
The ability to quickly recognize when something is right, the light, the composition, the weather will happen almost as if it is automatic.
Situations that you would otherwise drive or walk by will make you stop, do a double take and quickly recognize if this works or not.
There really are no mysteries to landscape photography. You only need pay attention to what you bring home, be ruthlessly honest with yourself and continue to practice, over and over again.
I recently found a photographers works that I liked. They had superb composition, location and processing. Everything that I saw was amazing. And then I stumbled upon some of his very old images that were still on the net and you know what? They did not closely resemble what he was currently doing. That is an example of how we learn, how we evolve and how we progress. No secrets just be persistent.