Gosh it seems like ages since I wrote a blog for my site. Logging on today amazing to see that there has been so many visitors to appreciate my work and to my blog pages. If you visited, from the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you so much it means a great deal.
So...what have I been up to? Well I have just finished my MA - I wish I could say it was in photography but it was in another subject equally as close to my heart. AND...I have been getting out there....
What does that mean...? That means I have been putting myself in the spot, pushing my boundaries. Only last week was I at the top of the mighty Ben Nevis only after driving through roads filled with so much beauty that I wish I could have stayed there a lot longer. Scotland is one of those amazing places; if you haven't been, I highly suggest that you do. There is a reason why it is fondly called the “ancient kingdom,” and indeed there are so many places that would not have seemed out of place in many of the Jurassic Films. Scotland is one of those places that if you look at the scenery whilst driving you are going to end up crashing or worse going off the edge, so most of my time my hands were spent glued to the steering wheel but when I had a chance to park, my gosh did I take some shots. After just three days being blessed by the Scottish hospitality do you know what I realised? God loves the Scots. Not only were they granted incredible lands but they were blessed with some of the most wonderful natured people I have ever met. I literally felt depressed coming back to London getting on a tube and having my head under someone's armpit for 20 mins of a journey without even a hello; intimacy I say which should never become a normalised experience for anyone unless they are family and you have no choice but to sleep toe-to-toe.
I have so many photos to work on it is unreal although I will try and post one or two for this blog I was well aware that if I did the photos first I might never get the piece out.
O.k So a few people have asked me already what's the best advice if you are shooting landscape and you are looking to improve your game. So I have come up with the following advice - hope it is of use:
- Make sure you are wrapped up warm - I have learnt the hard way so many times now that in my camera bag I have gloves, a beanie and even a small snack in there. When I did the 24 hr photo marathon I learnt that if your hands are cold they will shake and that will ruin the shot, if you are hungry you can't concentrate and that can all help to spoil the experience. Essentially you are looking for the beauty in what you see, so you need to be relaxed so you can focus.
- Make sure you have the right equipment - a good couple of lenses is all that you need. You don't even need to spend big sums of money. I use my kit lens which I paid slightly more to have a lens with a wide focal and telescopic range, I have the 50mm prime and I have a couple of graduated filters and of course the ND filter for time lapsed shots. But I have to be honest out of all of those the wide telescopic lens gets used the most because it is all I need the majority of the time. Don't forget a tripod, especially if you plan on shooting at dusk, again you don't need to spend big sums of money unless you really want to.
- Make sure you give yourself plenty of time. Landscape photography is easy to do, hard to do well. Therefore you need to have time on your hands. Going back to Scotland I would give myself easily a week to do photography alone. So many different aspects; night shots, dusk shots, dawn shots and so many places to shoot from. Again you don't want to rush these things, give yourself plenty of time.
- Get off the beaten track - so many people just shoot from vehicles or get out with the camera when the coach stops. I know a few photographers who failed to get the shot because they didn't want to cross a road or lay down on the ground to get an awesome new perspective. Often times changing our point of view can completely change a composition.
- Don't take chances - Again I learnt this the hard way. Never do anything dangerous or put yourself in a position where it would be difficult to get help or for help to get to you. The key is to try pushing yourself beyond your typical comfort zone to really get a shot that is special. Trust me there no shot that is worth serious financial or physical loss. I have yet to see someone cry over a photo of a landscape but I have seen plenty of photographers cry over their injury or losing their camera.
- Keep making mistakes - its amazing that people think that they can get out there and walk away with incredible shots first time. Equally they can become so focussed on getting the shot they forget to have fun. Enjoy your craft - if its not fun, the question is - is it actually worth it?