The Best Landscape Photographer You've Never Heard Of

The Best Landscape Photographer You've Never Heard Of

I adore a good landscape image. And it goes without saying that few things can take your breath away quite like an incredible image of mountains, valleys, spires, oceans, even castles and cities. After all, what is larger than life, or at least larger than us, can be far more awe inspiring than most portraits. However, the craft of landscape photography is hardly a matter of planning a vacation and bringing a tripod, which is about where my landscape "skills" end.

The good news is, the best landscape photography artists do far more than simply go on holiday with their trusty Manfrotto. In short, I am fully aware that they work harder for one image than I do for several magazine pictorials over several weeks. And because of this, the inspiring photography that they create is out there for us to behold. But the good news doesn't end there, as today I'm happy to showcase, quite simply, the greatest landscape photographer you've never heard of.

He goes by the name K. R. Whitley, and when he isn't jetsetting all over the planet, he is based in Texas. Seeing a Whitley piece for the first time, I immediately assumed I was witnessing the work of a highly acclaimed, 30+ year veteran in the commercial landscape imagery world. Made sense, as his photos were staggeringly beautiful, overwhelmingly so, and as I already mentioned, I know very little about this genre of photography. 

The fact that Whitley has been shooting landscapes around the world for less than 3 years, blew me away. I knew I had stumbled on to something special, and immediately reached out to him to learn more about what he does, and best of all, how he does it. The bad news is, how he does what he does is a feature coming to Fstoppers in January, so you have to wait on that one. The good news (it just keeps coming, huh?) is that I have compiled some of his finest masterpieces here for you to drool over, right now. 

Once you're done drooling, check him out on Facebook or 500px, and await the next project from the master that is K. R. Whitley. 

Images used with permission.

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And check out a few behind the scenes of Whitley and his team on one of his many treks to find the perfect shot:

 

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32 Comments

Denis Trudeau's picture

I love this work a lot

First you need a jet....

Charlie Magrin's picture

to me he's not the best landscape photographer. i find his work to be beautiful of course, but not subtle enough, colors are surreal and there's way too much vignette. i prefer the work of Alexandre Deschaumes which i found incredibly beautiful, and he's even able to transcript his own feelings in his photographs. check his work at http://www.alexandredeschaumes.com/ anyway, KR Whitley is a very talented photographer to follow!

Anonymous's picture

Wow, that is some amazing work. Thanks for the link. Agreed, Whitley has great photos as well especially considering the short time he has been doing it.

Samten Norbù's picture

Totally agree ( and thanks for the link, it's amazing and beautyful !!! )

To the author of the article : I don't know if on a community as F-stoppers, you can really catch "the best photographer" of anything ... If the title was a bit less pretentious, I would maybe have enjoyed the content more ;) )

Josh Crump's picture

Wow, also a great suggestion, his work is amazing. Those muted tones he does are wonderful for his type of work.

I don't think the author meant The Best Landscape Photographer, period. It was more, hey this guy is awesome at landscape and you've probably never heard of him. Considering Alexandre Deschaumes, I've never heard of him either, so both him and KR Whitley are two of the best landscape photographers that I've never heard of. Just my 2 cents, Cheers!

Matt BuckShots's picture

Agree. however with over 35 thousand likes on FB for Alex D. and 1,800 likes for Whitley, The title is somewhat appropriate.

OSVALDO VÁZQUEZ's picture

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing the link, I'm a new fan of this photographer, his work is amazing and truly unique!

Charlie, thank you so much for introducing Alexandre Deschaumes to me! I find his work incredible. One of the few of the landscape photographers of our time whose images have soul in my opinion.

Anthony and Jessica Perez's picture

Awesome photos. I like the dramatic looks!

Pedro Quintela's picture

Not the best, but very good, that´s obvious. Nowadays there´s a great group of amazing landscape shooters that worth visit. Many are there on 500px and they amaze me.
Whitley has great images, full of detail and with great PP. Landscape shooting is a great genre and mainly my work, so I know the difficulties in achieving it. A final image has so much work after and before that sometimes we ask what for, but when the good work (like this fine examples) sees the day, well our senses thank it! I only wish I can fly wherever I want.
I´m looking forward for that January feature! Love to learn with other´s experiences.

Josh Crump's picture

Great shots!

jon snow's picture

I would love to see the RAW unedited photos and compare before and after...

Jeffrey R Farmer's picture

Just out of curiosity, what does it matter what the RAW, unedited photos look like? Who presents their images to the public SOOC? A RAW image is rarely an accurate representation of what was actually photographed. To the contrary, it is usually an edited image that more closely represents the reality of what was seen.

Bottom line, as long as it's not being misrepresented in regards to some specific competition/submission rules/requirements - the only image that matters is the image that the artist wants to convey.

Jon Clayton's picture

I get what you are saying. I'm not the OP but I'd love a chance to look at unedited pics or have more BTS info as it increases my enjoyment, I'm also a sucker for the extras on DVDs!
Looking at raw files, comparing the before and after can be really educational and an interesting insight into the photographer. Personally I've never just looked at a picture I liked and that was it, I always want to know the details of how it was done. That's why I'm on this website now and not just browsing thru' 1000s of pretty pictures on Flickr or 500px.

Lovely images, that photographer knows his stuff and will be going into my reference/inspiration folder.

Edit: I also love that the EXIF data is not hidden in those photos the iceberg one was 1/4 sec exposure and the rocky spike was 5 secs. I've learnt a little today that I can store away and may help me in the future approach something in a different way than I maybe would have.

Ariel Martini's picture

what's with the black skies?

Armando Gonzalez's picture

The headline really has to be changed... His work is great, yes but he is not the best So far what I have seen and kept up with one of the best of this generation is Pedro Quintela and Alexandre Deshaumes.

Ariel Martini's picture

but those you already heard of!

Armando Gonzalez's picture

What do you mean Pati?

Mahmmud Yousef's picture

Just Googled Alexandre Deshaumes hes freaking amazing! thanks!

Eric Hodges's picture

Nice to see some Landscapes, thanks!

Bavarian DNA's picture

What I love about landscape photographers that they all differ in their style and I do appreciate their work. This guy have a nice style and thanks for bringing him up here. Readers I hope you can understand that there is various taste to art.

Jonathan Adams's picture

Clickbait headline worked...to bad Whitley will have to take the backlash from it....

I give him five years and he will process those images way differently... My theory on HDR to this level is because photographers don't put in the time it takes to return to the same spot over the years to find the best light...Magical is what I want to see when I look at Landscape, and the trick is way to obvious....good shooter don't want to take that away but the writer put him on the level.

OSVALDO VÁZQUEZ's picture

First of all let me clarify that I'm not saying this photographer is not great, but I keep wondering what is so perfect about this pictures or others alike, the fact that these are beautiful places to begin with or that the photographer took something that no other person could take if they had the access to the same equipment and the same locations?

Are we qualifying pictures because of the beauty of the subejct or the unique beauty the photographer brought out from the subject?

Shane Castle's picture

I'm hoping the "how" will include more info than a Canon 5D2, L lenses, NDR filters, Gitzo pods, and CS6. Probably zone exposure techniques too, although I don't spot a meter in any of the BTS shots.

Max McClure's picture

My advice would be to step back the 'photoshopping' a bit, the locations and photos are fantastic and would benefit further from a more natural end result. I always think that if you can tell that a photo has been enhanced, then this takes away from what was real about it in the first place, and that's what really counts right?

Anonymous's picture

I don't think so. The best photographer in the world can't capture what he/she saw and specifically the whole package. No camera can accurately capture the range of light or colors of the real world. They'll modify it in some way. Also, the photographer's experience includes the weather, the trip to the spot from which they take the photo, the smells, sounds, etc. The task of the photo editor is to recreate these things for the viewer. Since most photographers DON'T do this, or at least don't do a good job of it, it becomes easy to compare photos such as these, NOT to actual scenes you've viewed but to other photos you've viewed.

To fstoppers: Are we ever going to see the "how" part?

Max McClure's picture

Of course I agree with what you are saying, photography is always subjective and is affected by many factors and processes, however it is my personal opinion that photographs actually posses a greater impact when they depict the subject in a way that does not appear to be 'unreal' by the effect of PP. when something truly fantastic is captured then no ommition or enhanced is necessary.

Mahmmud Yousef's picture

Him and Chris Burkard are my two favorite photographers! The inspire me to go out and capture something amazing!

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