Tag Archives: photography locations

Intuition ~ The Missing Link of Landscape Photography

Like many other photographers who sell prints of their landscape photography work, I too have my “best sellers”. But what about so many other images that are nice shots, photos I have received many compliments on, but have not made a penny in the store? Intuition is a necessity for inspirational landscape photography.

~ This is not a “How to” tutorial. This is another photographer’s lesson-learned of who I am in whatever it is I do. In this case, what I do is photography ~

It took me time to learn the answers. I can tell you, and I will, but if you are still somewhat new to photography, especially landscape photography in hopes of selling prints, it will take your own experience to understand. You may even rewrite this topic in your own words one day!

Tall Trees Colorado Landscape Photography Pikes National Forest
Against Reason – going against rational judgment!

With today’s  technological advancements in digital cameras and software, especially phone cameras, the adage seems to be true, “Everyone is a photographer”. Well…one thing I believe separates a talented photographer from “anyone with a camera”, is intuition. The photographer’s intuition which can only come by experience with the camera, time in the field, and tons of learning by not following our intuition!

Recently, I wrote an article on landscape photography referring to one of the key requirements for lighting success – timing. I also refer to this timing as “The Fourth Dimension of Photography”. Now I want to explore another facet I have spent my life learning to do in everyday living – Intuition.

~ Intuition…the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. “We shall allow our intuition to guide us”…Google Dictionary ~
Intuitiveness in photography is much more than a tool of the mind. It is an artist’s creative attribute. It is the hidden, behind the scenes of the mind, power to see what others may be drawn to see, something we are drawn to in nature, an allurement of scenery. Intuition for a photographer works best when we leave the intent to please others behind.
I remember the days of spending time trying to decide where I would go or what landscape or setting I was going to photograph. Sometimes the energy I would drain trying to make a decision, would be the reason for me to not go out at all, or find something else to do entirely. Now, herein may lie a dilemma.
~ Sometimes, by being hesitant to go where I was planning to go, I would later discover that I just may have been following my intuition? Really? ~
I have learned in my life that there are two ways to find that intuitive direction. One – when there seems to be something holding me back, or Two – by just walking out the door with no plan in mind and just see where the day takes me. In all honesty, I do best with the first one. Either way, you are a photographer, an artist, a creative human being. Don’t allow yourself not to go out when you feel different than you did the day before when you were all excited to go set up your camera in the perfect little valley or in front of the historic homestead. Let intuition take over – no matter where it leads you. Learn how to do this!

~ All of the images in this weblog are shots I got by using both methods, by changing my mind or by just randomly setting out somewhere. Each image’s description is labeled by which intuitive method was used – Against Reason or Random ~

Centennial Farmhouse Colorado Landscape Photography
Random – Turned left instead of right

Now here is a story…

I had planned the evening before to awaken early, drive up into the mountains for some “changing colors of the Aspen”. To my disappointment, when morning came, it was unexpectedly rainy. Still sleepy, I decide to use this as an excuse to make another pot of coffee and enjoy a relaxing day.

Not to be. Restlessness set in and the questions of “should I or should I not” began to audit my intent. I could sense those gnawing  feelings and twinges of guilt begin. But guilt can be a motivator. It can be a signal to run on intuition, which is what I did. I grabbed my gear, went to my car and began to drive up into the mountains. The higher in elevation I rose, the foggier the atmosphere became. Before long visibility was on the verge of dangerous. I decided that I should have followed my earlier instincts and just stayed home. I was feeling overwhelmed with that “Well this day sucks” feeling. Just ahead, I saw a pull-off on the isolated, winding road and began the first move to turn around and go back home.

As I was about to pull back onto the roadway into a left u-turn, I noticed through the dense fog, a sign. Squinting my eyes I could make out the words “Entering Pike National Forest”. At the sign seemed to be an opening into the trees. Instinct, a close relative to intuition struck me, along with a little curiosity. I pulled my car into a parking position, got out and took a look. Sure enough it was an opening into the forest. I walked into the trees and immediately discovered within myself just how miraculously intuition can become inspiration. Standing in the midst of this beautiful, Autumn forest my thought was, “I need to get my camera before this all disappears!”

One of the results of this morning, is one of my best sellers you see here. I simply call it “Forest Fog”

landscape and fine art photography
“Forest Fog” Against Reason

As a landscape photographer, or as a photographer who wishes to capture landscapes that others are drawn to, learn to rely on your own intuition. Let intuition be your guide. Loosen up, let go as you would in life. Use your own experience of who you are. What inspires your inner being, may also inspire the inner being of others. At least the odds are now in your favor!

Landscape Photography ~ When I Find Myself in the Fourth Dimension of Photography

Landscape Photography
The fourth dimension of timing

For me, landscape photography takes on a wide array of categories. When I think of landscape photography, I envision the reproductions of mountain vistas, a little cabin in a wilderness setting, lakes and mountains, mountains and lakes, even rolling hills. But in my reality of landscape photography, I see those things as well as sunsets, sunrises, fog, rain, snow, trees, forests. I see a wide angle horizon and I see a scene no wider than several feet.

Imagine the commercial work of landscaping. A landscaper takes an area of ground or a small plot of property and creates a garden, a plant sanctuary, plants decorative trees, or even hauls in and arranges moss granite, cobblestones, or sand in artistic ways. A fountain may even be included. This, of course, is a man-made landscape. When the job is finished, I can see the landscape contractor taking a phone pic of his or her work. Thus, they now have participated in the art of “landscape photography”.

In my world of photography, when I seek to photograph a landscape or a landmark, I ask myself these three questions:

  1. What do I want to photograph?
  2. What time of day?
  3. Where do I want to position myself?

“What do I want to photograph?”
Preparing for lunar eclipse on “Ridgeline”, Castle Rock, Colorado!

I live in Castle Rock, Colorado. I know what your thinking. Colorado? There should be a million landscapes you can shoot! Well, yes…there are. And everywhere you look is a landscape waiting to be decorated with my lens. Many of my sunsets photos attest to that statement. They may appear to be shot from some Colorado wilderness area, but often may be captured right from my deck. The sky becomes the canvas background.

Sometimes I plan a landscape shoot, and sometimes I just randomly stumble across a view that just reaches my soul. I have learned that being a true photography artist is to photograph what I love, not being concerned with what I think others will love. Time has now given me the experience to understand the finer elements for an awesome finished product of a landscape photo I would hang on any wall with pride and joy. But this only comes from the realm of the fourth dimension of landscape photography.

Landmarks for Landscape Photography

Castle Rock, Colorado is known for a natural landmark cut and sculpted from winds over time and receding waters long, long ago. “The Rock” of Castle Rock (Rock Park) is an icon of the surrounding regions between Denver and Colorado Springs to the south. The other landmark which is a destination of many is Pike’s Peak. Photos of the rock are a “dime a dozen”. Every local photographer, especially amateur photographers make it their passion to photograph the Rock. I was, and am no exception. So let’s make “The Rock” the “What” of my choices to photograph. So we have answered the first question, “What do I want to photograph?

“What time of day should I photograph the Rock?”

I know what I want to photograph, but now I need to decide when. For me, in order to know when is best, depends upon what my background canvas will be to complete my landscape decoration. Like the landscape contractor, I will decorate the landscape with timing of light by determining the bigger picture, not just the focal point. I will also attempt to determine the best context in relation to the surroundings. In this landscape view I will be pointing my camera from north to south.

My focal point will be The Rock, but my canvas will be the foothills of the Rockies climbing up to Pike’s Peak in the background. Morning light will be my best, rising from the east. Sometimes the sun gets up faster than we can be prepared, but that’s for another topic. In this case, the sun had not quite reached the “harsh” time. This was probably best, because it allowed me to close my stop down in order to get the telephoto effect I was hoping for. We have now answered the question, “What time of day?”

“Where do I want to position myself?”

One thing I always consider; where can I go, what angle or distance do I need, where I can get that shot that no one else has? So using my phone from maps view I sought out a location that would give me that ideal angle and distance. There is a fourth aspect (kind of like a fourth dimension) that my three questions to self are wrapped up in. This fourth dimension of photography I have determined to be “timing”!

When I drove up to the perfect location, parking was available. It was a quiet area with a few homes under construction. I had a short hike up through some trees and shrubs to a secluded knoll. The location was virtually in the backyard of other homes, so I had to work quick, since I may be trespassing. Knowing I would possibly be on private property, I had everything ready. Quickly, I threw up my tripod, mounted my camera with my 70-200 Canon lens, and quickly adjusted my settings. I like shooting landscapes in triple exposure, so after setting exposure, ISO, and f-stop, (shooting in AV mode).

Taking several shots in various f-stop settings and satisfied with my efforts down the hill to my car I stumbled and then home to my computer for processing. We have now answered the question, “Where do I want to position myself?”

Pikes Peak and The Rock of Castle Rock - landscape photographyOn this chilly morning in March, 2016, everything worked to my advantage. The fourth dimension of timing was in my favor. Yes, I photographed the same rock and the same mountain everyone from amateurs to professionals photograph. Except one things stands apart from the others. I currently have the only and one of the most demanded photos for print of “The Rock” and “Pike’s Peak” in alignment. The difference from others? Position. But “position” did not work alone. It included the “what” and the “when”, all wrapped up in the fourth dimension of timing.

The final result speaks for itself. And no, I will never be concerned with ever attempting to duplicate this shot. This is now “One-of-a-kind”. The location? It is now built over with homes.

Photography Photo-shoot Locations…The Dilemma of Location?

How well I remember always feeling confused about where I would do a photo-shoot. That too-familiar feeling of where to go? What will it be like when I get there? What time should I set up the shoot? What lens? What settings? Props… Continue reading Photography Photo-shoot Locations…The Dilemma of Location?