This past fall was in interesting one. Normally, I would be out for every sunrise, spend hours driving through the night and set up in random Buddhist Temples waiting for the perfect sunrise.
This year, it just wasn’t in me. Maybe, I am getting older and I don’t have the drive or something. I managed to get to a few places and get the shots that I wanted. I think that was probably it.
You Don’t Need Go EVERYWHERE
If all that you are interested in is getting generic shots of fall colours then you don’t have to drive all across the country to visit every location that you saw on instagram… if you don’t want to. Instead focus on where you can get the shots near you and improve the quality or composition of your shots.
This was something that I thought about the other day when I had some time off and was heading out. I wanted to hit all of my favourite spots in one day. I had a whole shot list that I wanted to shoot.
The realization came when I asked myself this one question “what am I really hoping to achieve with these shots?” Did I need to visit 5 different locations? Not really. Unless there is something absolutely unique about each of those locations then it is simply unnecessary.
Figure Out What You What To Express
This is the key take away from this post. You need to boil down your message to what it is that you want to express. For the most part this exercise can help with not only landscape photography but travel as well. By focussing on the story and how you will express it, you will end up choosing the right gear and the right locations at the right time.
Too often, photographers run around to several locations during a particular time of the year without any real idea of what they want to photograph. They blame the gear or themselves when the shots they return with lack a point or just don’t measure up.
However, if you had a strong vision in mind, your photos will reflect that. It was something that I noticed when I would go out on assignment for different magazines. If the editor told me that they wanted a very specific style or scene, I was laser focussed and it showed in the images. I knew exactly what I had to express and how to do it.
When I would just go out to a random location just because the light was good, it forced me to be more creative but there was no real direction. Don’t get me wrong, this can be fulfilling but if you are looking for a decent set of shots then it might not be the most productive path.
The bottom line here is that once you get to a certain level, you really have to question your motives and what you want to achieve. This sounds tough and it should be. It will help you in the long run.
Giving your photography a sense of purpose with sharpen your skills to help you achieve the shots that you are hoping for. Think of it this way, if you just randomly head out and hoping to find something interesting you may or may not get lucky.
However, if you have a shot in in mind first. Then, you plan out how to achieve the shot via youtube and other tutorials. You scout some locations and get a few practice shots, and then finally get the shot or a few that you are really happy with. Think about the skill development thatyou just went through.
Yes the latter will take some time, but you will get the shots that you want and learn the process of getting them. The former only really gets you out of the house. So keep that in mind.