Learning Landscapes

I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. – Pablo Picasso

I love landscape photography, I’m just no good at it. Perhaps saying I’m not good is a little harsh. I know what the problem is: I just don’t try hard enough. Good landscape photography requires effort. There are only so many views of my garden I can create.

With all of this in mind, I decided to get outside and try to capture some landscape and architecture images. Something that will get me out an about, looking at different vistas, and hopefully a little exercise whilst walking from place to place. I’m not quite at the point where I’ll be popping over to Iceland to capture the glaciers under the aurora borealis, or following in the footsteps of Ansel Adams, treking through Yosemite National Park, but anything that gets me off the sofa and practicing my landscape imagery will be a good start.

I’m very fortunate in that I live fairly close to the Peak District, so one evening recently I popped out and tried to capture a scene from the landscape.

Crowden

This was taken just as the sun was setting. I was hoping that the sky would catch ablaze with the late evening colours as the sun set, but alas this was not to be. Hoping that I’d capture the most brilliant sunset on my first attempt was perhaps a little optimistic.

Next on the agenda was a long exposure featuring water. I’ve seen lots of these images where the long exposure makes the surface of the water appear flat and smooth. I knew in my mind what I wanted, and that was some clouds in the sky that would streak, a flat, still water surface, and a high contrast black and white finish. Blakemere Moss in Delamere Forest, Cheshire provided just the scene I was looking for.

Blakemere Moss, Delamere Forest, Cheshire.

At home we’re members of the National Trust. We like to visit places on holidays in the UK, and to go for days out. I’ve already written about visiting , where I concentrated on the autumn colours. This time I wanted to take a picture of the house, but also captured a little of the wildlife whilst I was there.

The house at Dunham Massey Damselfly

I know the damsel fly image doesn’t count as a landscape, but I like it and this is my blog so it’s going in. 🙂

And now that elusive sunset. I’m very fortunate in that I get to visit Scotland quite regularly. If you want a beautiful landscape, stunning scenery, or inspirational view, then there are few places around the world that can match it. Of course Scotland obliged me with the colourful sky I was looking for.

Scottish Sunset

So far I’ve enjoyed my time learning how to take better landscape images. There is still much to learn, but the journey is going to be a very interesting one, and something I am very much looking forward to.

As always, thank you for reading.

What a difference a day makes

I was feeling more than a little down about my photography. I wasn’t booking any models to work with, and had turned down a couple of offers of work from models who wanted my style images in their portfolio. Not really sure what had caused this negativity on my part, but I did realise that this slump had got hold of me, and I was bereft of idea on how to fix it. My portfolio wasn’t up to date and seemed to be going nowhere. What to do? Upload some images to social media and take some time away.

On Thursday I uploaded this image to a photography group on Facebook.

Classical beauty
Classical beauty

And then on Friday I uploaded this image to my Flickr account

Urban chic
Urban chic

Yesterday I had a look at the statistics on how these images had performed on social media. I was floored. The first image was incredibly popular on Facebook and had out performed any other image I have ever uploaded there, with more likes, loves, and reactions than anything else I’d posted.

The second image had been Explored on Flickr. For those that don’t know, Explore is Flickr’s way of showcasing the best and most interesting photographs each day. There are usually over 8 million photographs uploaded to Flickr each day, and only 500 of those are chosen for Explore. To be chosen for Explore your an image really must catch the attention of those that choose them.

Well I was delighted. Truly thrilled to receive so much love and attention. My notifications on both sites went crazy, and my statistics on Flickr are booming like never before.

Needless to say any negative feelings I was having towards model photography were banished instantly, and I have already started the process of arranging another photoshoot.

Regular readers of this blog will recognise the model in both of these images. It is Sinopa Rin who has been a great ally and constant source of inspiration throughout my photographic journey. For those wanted to get started in model photography she comes with the highest possible recommendation from me. You can view Sinopa’s portfolio here.

I know this story takes place over the course of three days but I just wanted to use the Dinah Washington inspired title. You’ll allow me a little poetic licence won’t you?

Postbox

UK postbox in the early evening light
Postbox

Do you ever struggle for inspiration? I do. This happens to me a lot. My photography goes in fits and starts. Then yesterday I had a letter to post. I put on my coat, picked up the letter, and just for the hello of it I grabbed my camera. Who knows, I may have run into a movie star along the way.

As the letter was posted I noticed that the street lights were illuminating the postbox and I decided to take a snap. I cranked up the ISO a little, opened the aperture as wide as it would go and took the image.

So a mundane everyday task became a new photograph and this blog post. I think the secret is to take your camera with you wherever you go. How do you overcome a lack of inspiration? How do you motivate yourself?