Here I attempt to inform the reader of the several steps required to become a Magical Landscape photographer. This guide will be in several parts and will eventually turn into a full tutorial with videos. This will be available to download soon… please subscribe if you want to know when it becomes available.
You should subscribe anyway, at least then you will be ready for other news about tours, workshops and exhibitions.
Part one – the brain
Yes I am going to start with something other than cameras and locations. Your brain is the most important tool on your journey of discovery. For starters, you have to love Landscape photography, if it doesn’t interest you then you should be reading a different blog. But it is more than just “interest” there really needs to be a passion. Being passionate about landscapes is your foremost starting block from which to spring into action.
Feel the scene
Aside from passion, your brain has to learn to see. Of course, you can already see, but the successful landscape photographer will need to be able to see the nature without the clutter of thought, kind of like a third eye, the landscape photographer needs to see the landscape in its fresh, virginal state – in other words; to be able to feel the landscape. When you come across a new scene (which you find beautiful), there are a few seconds where your creative brain feels the scene, then thoughts kick in and the feeling fades. The trick of a landscape photographer is to be able to keep the feeling and limit those distracting thoughts to a minimum. It comes easy to some and not so easy for others. Here are some ways you can train you brain to keep the feeling long enough to capture it:
- Practice meditation – meditation is a technique to limit distracting thoughts – it is as simple as feeling the breath as you breathe – practice!
- Practice using your equipment – there is nothing worse than struggling with a tripod when you should be capturing the scene.
- Set your camera up like a point and shoot – this comes with practice, but you don’t want to be doing mathematics when you should be capturing the scene.
There is more info about training your brain to feel the scene in this post!! Left brain versus right brain.
Use your brain to study the visual process. Learning how we see depth is so useful for a landscape photographer. The type of depth perception knowledge that is useful to a Landscape Photographer is called “Pictorial Depth perception” or “Monocular Depth perception” . See this Wiki article for an introduction to understanding Depth Perception.
Use your brain to study other people’s photographs and learn to give (and take) effective critisism. This form of study is ultimate training for a landscape photographer. And with the web and so many photo websites, it is something you can do anytime.
Think outside the box
Here is the famous nine dots puzzle. The challenge is to connect all 9 dots with 4 lines and without removing your pencil from the page. The solution is at the bottom of the page.
Thinking outside the box is a common term for the ability to solve problems with non obvious methods. Landscape photographers have to think outside the box regarding camera settings, tripods, lenses and processing.
Use your brain to study the landscape. This includes some geology a lot of meteorology, such as weather systems, you need to know about moon phases, tides, sunrises sunsets etc. It is really beneficial to understand weather forecasts and observe the behaviour of light in a sunrise situation. You should at least be able to estimate the changes in the direction of light at different times of the day.
Use your brain to study technology. Although it is still possible to shoot film and keep the images to ourselves, most of us want to become Landscape Photographers in order to share our work with the world. To do this, an understanding of digital camera technology and internet technology is important.
Use your brain to study other visual arts!!
Allow your brain to be flexible and open to changes and expectations.
But mostly, use your brain to subscribe and continue reading the rest of my guide.