Finding Landscape Photography Inspiration Locally
Times are hard, we’re in our third national lockdown here in the UK. It’s extremely difficult to get motivated to pick up the camera and leave the house this time. This is made even more difficult by local travel restrictions where we can only leave the house for essential travel only with the exception of 1 hour for exercise. I think a walk in the park with my camera counts as exercise. But, Winters in the UK are grey, that’s the best way to describe them. A three-month grey spell that is wet, cold and generally miserable and uninspiring. How can I overcome this? I need to rise above it, for my own sanity, if nothing else. I trawl the internet in hope of finding landscape photography inspiration locally. The below video by Adam Gibbs touches on some of the key points that I have also discovered and thought were worth sharing.
Photography Finding Inspiration Locally
Living in modern suburbia has its perks when it comes to convenience but what it often lacks is a natural beauty. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in a concrete jungle, miles away from any sort of landscape or nature. In fact, I’m surrounded by potential photography hotspots. If I walked 10 minutes south I’d be in a 40-acre park. A walk 20 minutes north would put me in a 400-acre nature reserve. By getting in the car and driving 20 minutes East or West and I’d find myself either on the beach or in a bustling city. The problem I have is I’ve grown up here, I’ve explored these beaches, parks and nature reserves for over 30+ years. I don’t find them exciting or inspiring any more. Maybe I need to start looking from a new perspective and with a different mindset for local inspiration.
What I like about Adams approach is that he’s looking at these “over explored” areas as an oasis. Making excellent use of the weather to hide the undesired surroundings is a great idea. At the moment, all that I yearn for is a clear nights sky so I can grab my gear and head out the door under cover of darkness. However, looking at my clear sky app which gives me a 7-day forecast, I have 99-100% cloud cover for the FULL week ahead. There is zero chance of any astrophotography for me. So, I need to take a different tact and seize whatever opportunity comes my way.
What We Should Do To Maximise Local Inspiration
Hunt For That Composition
I’m venturing into the great known with a new viewpoint. All of the scenes I have seen a thousand times before, I need to look at differently, with a new appreciation. My eye might cast upon something I’ve seen all of my life, but I need to remember, you haven’t seen it. That’s what we need to think like. Instead of looking at something and taking it for granted, let’s scrutinise it. Break down its composition and look for those key elements such as leading lines and interest. A good or even a great composition will be there, we’re just not seeing it. It has to be there, nature has an incredible way of creating order from chaos, we just need to find it.
Let The Light Lead The Way
Adam sets up in a location waiting for the light to shine through trees in the fog, the light doesn’t come. When Adams packs up and goes to leave, that light he was waiting for shines through. Wait a little longer, if you’ve found you composition it worth waiting for. You might be lucky and everything might fall into place. Some of the most incredible images that we capture have been improvised and shot at the exact moment that the light changed without warning. Adapting from what light we have to what it changes to is reactive and almost instinctive for photographers. It’s like the light calls to us. When searching for that local inspiration the light can play a huge part in our decision making. Choose a composition that fits with the light.
Use Technology To Help Find Inspiration Locally
Aren’t Drones fantastic! In no time at all, you can send a device into the sky and survey the area you are in. Drones can find places that you might never have seen and give a brilliant perspective of the area and the conditions in relation to the light and landscape. Not every photographer/explorer has a drone, which is sad. But, we can use other technologies. One of my favourites tools is Google Earth, you can spend hours exploring the area from the comfort of your home. If you enable Photos on google earth a load of red and blue icons appear on the map. When you click on the icon it will show you a photo that someone has already taken of the area. I found something really cool at 55°19’12.90″N 2°11’1.60″W. Put that into the search bar on google earth.
In Summary For Finding Local Inspiration In Photography
I have heard of some photographers that capture the same places time-and-time again. I don’t have the patience for that, but with all of this in mind, I do have the desire to rediscover my local surroundings in search of inspiration. Think, and act differently. These are challenging times that we live in and we have to adapt to rise to the challenge. We can’t expect to behave the way we normally would as photographers when our current environment is so different from what we’re used to. By changing our mindset we can get out more often and do the things we love to do. Photography can transport us, mentally and spiritually. When you take that shot and check it in camera, to find it’s come out better than you expected, that’s the feeling we need to hold on to. Now let’s get out and shoot locally.
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