Documentary Landscape Photography
I have never really been interested in landscape photography, I am much more well known for my wedding and commercial work. In fact if I look back through my portfolio there is very little landscape work with the exception of the odd holiday snap. I have always looked at landscapes as a possible backdrop for a portrait not as a subject themselves.
Recently I have been making myself go out and take landscapes, I try to do them when I am already out or going somewhere to be economical with my time. I have found that they are incredibly addictive. Even going to the same place at the same time day after day the scene can differ dramatically. One of my all time favourite photographers Joe McNally
says that if you want to take better photographs then put yourself in front of better things. This is so true with landscapes - it is not just the view but the weather conditions make a tremendous difference.
I live on the coast so most of my images involve the sea. I find myself looking at tide tables working out what time is best for certain shots. High tide in stormy weather will be good for dramatic wave shots but low tide over the rock pools is perfect.
A fellow photographer and good friend of mine Matt Bristow,
recently commented that I seem to have developed a cloud fetish. Well I wouldn't call it a fetish more of an addiction. I find myself watching the sky and trying to work out where would be best to take advantage of the conditions.
I think my work would best be described as documentary landscape - I take the picture as it is and do very little processing. I see lots of HDR (High dynamic range) landscape images but I don't really like the look. I know that used correctly and in moderation the images do not look HDR and there are tremendous benefits but it is not for me - well not at the moment. I did dabble with Photomatix some years ago but found it wasn't really my cup of tea. Whilst on the subject of taste I am also not keen of the cotton wool water look, I quite like a little blur but again think it is all about moderation.
As far as processing, I shoot RAW and process in Lightroom. I normally end up removing dust spots, adjusting a few sliders a little bit of dodge and burn and that is pretty much it.
Landscapes have made me much more aware of my locality and will be something I will continue to practice - it gets me outside and some of the views around here are simple breathtaking. The other thing is that I do them for me so I only have one person to please.