What Makes Landscape Photography So Fascinating?
Updated: Aug 16, 2021
“The thing I love about photography is that for just a moment, you can make everyone else look at the world the way you see it.” ― Amy Spalding
I may not have great photography 'gear', and I have a lot to learn about composition, but I love landscape photography.
Being out in nature, exploring what my immediate location has to offer, making images of land, sea and sky, is what I love about photography.
This is what makes me feel truly alive.
I took this image recently when I stopped for a break while travelling.
It might appear to lack a real subject but in this image I felt that the landscape itself was my subject.
I like the way the coastline leads the eye round to the land further back.
Although there is a lot of uninteresting sky I didn't want to crop and lose the few fluffy clouds at the top.
Shooting landscapes is helping me become more observant, not just of nature but also of the way I take my images and how I can improve them.
When I returned to photography three years ago, I began my journey with my new DSLR camera by taking some landscape images.
I was still in Auto mode and knew very little about composition, yet I knew I was drawn to beautiful landscapes.
These were not iconic or epic landscapes by any means, just places of simple beauty that I loved.
Since then, I have learned a little more about manual and aperture priority mode, which tend to be my modes of choice today, and I have tried out street photography, experimented with close-up photography and made images in lots of different locations that are not strictly landscape locations.
Yet I keep being drawn back to photographing landscapes.
I love capturing reflections in little country lakes. In this image I focused on the stone in the foreground, the reflection formed the middle of the image and I also caught the mountain peeping up in the background
So what is it that makes landscape photography so fascinating?
At this point I think it might be a good idea to define exactly what landscape photography is.
There are lots of accepted definitions, which a Google search will throw up, but I am referring to what landscape photography means to me.
Essentially, I believe that many types of photography can be classed as landscape photography, whether they are regular landscapes, coastal landscapes or woodland landscapes. Urban landscapes and architectural landscape photography have also earned the name.
If it’s photography that captures the great outdoors, that doesn’t involve people as a main subject, then it can be termed landscape photography.
Since I don’t do portrait, wedding or still life photography, and I am not a photojournalist, most of my images belong in the landscape genre.
So why is it so special?
In a word – beauty.
I love to photograph what catches my eye because of its beauty.
It might be a magnificent sunrise or sunset; it might be a mountain reflected in a lake. It could be a lone tree on a hillside or even rain-soaked branches in a woodland.
It could be something inherently beautiful, like much of nature, or it could be a subject whose beauty is hard to find, whose ‘ordinariness’ means we have to uncover the real beauty.
I love to capture beautiful skies in the evening light. Even when they are not dramatic sunsets, they still reveal the beauty of the natural world
For me, this is the challenge in photography – to find beauty and reveal it to others.
And this quest to capture beauty in an image, the constant search for a more perfect landscape image, is the reason that I find landscape photography to be so fascinating.
What do you find most appealing about landscape photography? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Before you leave you might like to check out these useful landscape photography resources.