Landscapes: Not just “pretty pictures”

I speak with many people who are new to photography.  They list a variety of subjects that they enjoy shooting, or would like to learn more about shooting.  Landscape photography is often casually thrown into the conversation quite early on.  This type of photography is often limited to sunsets for those who are just starting.  It seems as though most people associate landscape photography with just pretty pictures of nature.  Although that is certainly one of the goals, I don’t think that the prospect of a “pretty picture” is what most landscape photographers strive for.

It is the interpretation of natural elements that I am drawn to.  Sure, there may be a grand vista with a lake, a few trees, then a snow-capped mountain.  That makes a beautiful photo, but what does it offer beyond that?  I see landscape photography akin to journalism.  A grand vista shot will show much of what is going on, but I find the more intimate closeups of the natural world to have a greater voice.  A single weathered rock can tell the story of a mountains past.

I enjoy shooting with a long lens, and finding graphic elements in nature.  The natural world is one of seemingly random subjects. When I stumble upon a scene that is beautifully laid out in front of me, I know that I need to capture it on film.  It can be the texture of a rock, or a small shrub’s struggle along a giant rock face. As a result, my photography is usually more narrowly focused.  I hope that by capturing the beauty of these scenes, I can share my own vision with those who view my work.  Landscape photography is more than just pretty pictures.

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