Today I was stood in the middle of nowhere, next to a barely above freezing river while an icy cold wind battered me, struggling to sink the feet of a tripod evenly into sandy, muddy ground. It was at this point I realised that I had forgotten to pack up my filter holder, the little adapter ring you screw on the front of a lens so you can place Neutral density and other filter’s in front of it, making my journey to this location, while not meaningless but a little bit more frustrating as I now couldn’t take any long exposure shot’s of running water. And it is at this point I though to myself, why am I here?
I thought I would follow on my from article “Why Street Photography” with one about the other branch of photography I have a particular interest, Landscape. And today, after the situation I described above, was probably a good time to talk about it, especially since despite all that, I stuck it out and had a damn good day. So let’s answer the question; Why Landscape Photography?
Firstly think about the reason’s why people pick up a camera in the first place and take more of an interest in photography than simply taking a few snapshot’s of their family and friend’s? I’ll tell you the main reason I did, to take up a hobby. Now by that I mean that I have always had an interest in camera’s and photography, not to the level I have now but certainly enough of an interest. There was a point in my life a few year’s ago where I was literally sat down one day with nothing to do and decided that I needed a hobby or I was going to go mad from pure boredom and the repetitive nature of normal life, so I bought a DSLR and got started. Now the reason I say this is because this combine’s in with the idea of wanting to do something other than sitting around bored, I had a camera now what to do with it? This is now an excuse to go out of the house and explore, to take photograph’s of thing’s, normal thing’s all around me and what’s more normal and all around me than the great outdoor’s?
Secondly, location. I have said to a few people before that until I started taking photography more seriously I don’t think I really truly appreciated where I live, and by that I mean Wales, although that could probably include the UK as a whole as well. Now I’m not saying I thought I lived in an awful place, I just didn’t realise how lucky I am to live in a city where if I drive half hour one way I can be stood on a beach, either pebbled or sandy with rolling waves and endless blue horizon’s, or travel the other direction and in another half hour be stood on the side of a mountain looking down on valley’s, lake’s and river’s. Now I do realise just how lucky I am, and this location has made me want to capture it on camera and share it so other people can see that too.
Thirdly, relaxation. OK you’ll have to work with me on this one as I know the opening paragraph of this article does not exactly lend itself to this point, after all what’s relaxing about being bitterly cold stood in the middle of nowhere right? Well that’s what I am saying so hear me out. Picture this, you’ve had a hard week in work, you’re stressed out, you’ve been dealing with people all day everyday, relentless barrage’s of request’s and demand’s from co-worker’s, colleague’s, family, friend’s, noise, noise and more noise. Well this is what I do, I pack up my gear, drive out into the middle of nowhere, walk out into the wilderness, set up my tripod, attach the camera, take a deep breath and, relax. Peace and quiet, just you, your equipment and the whole of the great outdoor’s. Tell me now, what’s not relaxing and stress relieving about that?
The final point I’m going to give on the subject is one that actually has not a lot to do with photography at all, in fact it’s more of a health and well-being point. We all know that exercise is good for us, I know who’d have thought that? But come on, how busy are we all? Do we have the time to spend sculpting ourselves into Adonis’? Probably not, we have lives, job’s, family, better thing’s to with our time perhaps? Well this is where landscape photography come’s into it’s own, ever walked for an hour along a coastal path while carrying 6-10 pounds of lenses, tripod’s, camera’s, general paraphernalia on your back? If you have you know exactly what I mean when I say this, it’s bloody hard work. I am not a big or muscular guy, not by a long shot, but I can categorically say I have pretty broad shoulders nowadays and good stamina, and carting about all that equipment is definitely the reason for it. This has combined a hobby I enjoy with something that keeps me relatively fit, win win surely?
So there we have it, a few reason’s why I have found landscape photography so rewarding, I mean if anything it’s just a great excuse to go exploring the wilderness even if you don’t take a single photograph at the end of the day, it’s still going to make you feel pretty pleased with yourself.