Exploring Scenes in Landscape Photography

Landscape photographers often speak about the advantages of scouting locations, but a certain creative energy can be lost with too much pre-planning. In this video, we follow along as a landscape photographer explores an area which has some benefits and downsides.

Successful landscape photography often takes some work to influence being at the right place at the right time for exceptional conditions. This work involves scouting, either studying maps and weather trends or heading out into the field to identify interesting subjects for a future photography outing. 

There is something to be said for just getting out and exploring the landscape with no preconceived plan. In this video, we follow Nigel Danson as he explores a wintertime scene in the Cairngorms of Scotland.  We witness the energy, creativity, and some of the problems of an explore-first approach.

Watching Danson in the field is an interesting look at the creative energy and excitement that can come with simply exploring a new landscape. Danson moves quickly from scene to scene, working to find compositions and light that work for these scenes. He provides many fieldcraft tips along the way for how to work scenes in the field.

Exploration isn’t without its downsides, which Danson alludes to within the video. What do you think? Are you more of a scouting-first or explore-first landscape photographer?

Jeffrey Tadlock's picture

Jeffrey Tadlock is an Ohio-based landscape photographer with frequent travels regionally and within the US to explore various landscapes. Jeffrey enjoys the process and experience of capturing images as much as the final image itself.

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