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Close to Home28/11/2008 - 8:52 PM
"How do you take a great landscape photo?"
I've read and heard many different answers to this question, but there are a few common denominators among the many different suggestions.
One that really makes sense, is that it helps to have good light at a location that you want to shoot. Now, "good" is probably open to interpretation, but "light" is definitely a handy commodity to have around when you want to photograph something.
And since you don't just want any light, but at the very least light on the subject of your photo, you'd probably appreciate it if some of it at least was going in the same direction that you're pointing your lens.
As many will tell you, this make take planning, preparation and possibly even reconnaissance. And even then you may find upon visiting the location of your choice that conditions aren't ideal for the photographs you wanted to take.
And then you have a choice: 1. Find alternatives to what you originally wanted to shoot. Or: 2. Return and try again.
Only option no. 2 may give you the pictures you were after, so you may very well be inclined to go for that option. But this option has some disadvantages.
First of all, it requires patience and time, and maybe even traveling expenses. Secondly, it requires you to be more or less in the area when the desired conditions might occur.
I've come to the conclusion that this makes option 2 a nigh impossibility for people on a short holiday or trip. You have to be incredibly lucky to get the right circumstances for your photographs at a stunning location far away from home when you have only one or two weeks to spend in the area - or worse: only one or a few days.
So the logical conclusion is that for simple working folk like me, who cannot leave home for undetermined lengths of time, shooting close to home seems to be a more logical choice. Maybe not the most attractive choice, but it definitely seems to make more sense.
Right. Close to home. Ahem.
So that rules out mountains (we have a molehill in the south of the country called a "mountain" - the Vaalserberg - but it's only 321 metres high, and too much has been built on and around it to make it a photogenic subject), waterfalls (there are a few man-made waterfalls in the Netherlands, but it's not the same, is it), wilderness areas (the whole darn country is man-made and quite full, so how and where would we get a wilderness), rocky coasts (only some very flat sandy beaches, lined with dunes that have been cordoned off with lots of barbwire), and ... well, you get the picture, don't you ...
But I do have to find something. Windmills are nice, but it's not all I want to shoot. Gets a bit boring, otherwise. And that line of trees that is almost over-represented in my portfolio is getting a bit boring now, too. So I need somewhere new to go. I don't want my 10-20mm lens to sit in my bag unused between holidays, after all. Although - even if I do find somewhere to shoot, I may need to use a longer lens. Wide, sweeping views are scarce here.
But who knows. There's bound to be something, somewhere. So watch my portfolio to find out if I stumble upon something photogenic anywhere around here. Perhaps there really is something close to home ...