Landscapes began to capture my imagination as I developed my interest in photography. From the hundreds of thousands (even millions?) of photographs that I have viewed and studied since I was a child, the landscape is the genre that consistently holds my attention the longest. The sweep of hills, the prominence of peaks, the symmetry of reflection on water, the interplay of dramatic or soft natural light and shadows falling across terrain are just some of the features that draw my attention and fuel my imagination. Invariably, I will imagine myself being there - surveying in wonderment the beauty of the scene.
Travelling to new locations and evaluating what a scene may have to offer is very appealing to me. This is a skill that develops with experience as you try and anticipate what a view may look like once the light has changed. Light and weather however, do not always cooperate.
Prior to each trip, I invest significant effort and time researching an unfamiliar area and planning a shooting itinerary. This will include trying to determine the predicted weather patterns and quietest, less populated times to travel. On arrival at an unfamiliar area, my remit is to take my time and every opportunity to scout the prospective locations thoroughly. Once settled on a location, I will carefully set up my composition and then patiently wait to see if the anticipated conditions and light actually materialise. Waiting several hours at locations for that small window of opportunity to make a single photograph is the norm for landscape photographers and this, I think, is one of the key aspects that sets shooting landscapes apart from most other genres of photography. As mentally and physically exerting as this task may be at times, when the moment arrives and the photograph is captured, it makes the effort worthwhile.
What makes a great landscape photograph? Well, for me its simple. Its a photograph that captures my imagination, one that makes me momentarily experiences a desire to be physically transported to that location, one that makes me...wish I were there.