Do Not Be Lazy in Landscape Photography

Predicting the weather is next to impossible, but you can optimize your chances of a successful shoot quite a lot. Do not be lazy about that optimization. I was lazy and it lead to one of my biggest fails in my career as a landscape photographer.

In my latest video I tell the story about how I missed a photo I had visualized for about a year. I wanted a burning afterglow from a sunset above a volcano crater in Iceland. An afterglow or “after burn” happens when the sun lights up the underside of the clouds. The lower the clouds the less of a chance. You will need the horizon and sky underneath the horizon to be clear as to have the sun light up the clouds above your head. I had a window of four days so chances was already fairly small of getting the photo, but looking through the weather forecasts I picked the day with the biggest chance and we went for that.

After waiting on top of the volcano crater for about three hours, I became fairly pessimistic about getting the photo as clouds seemed to build up at the horizon. Before the clouds covered the sun the light kept becoming better and better. As the photo was a drone photo, I only had limited battery. Instead of waiting around for a sunset that probably would not manifest into anything I used almost all my drone battery. I made sure to have enough for one more fast flight. Straight up and down if something happened.

This is where I made a mistake. I thought to myself, I ought to go down from the volcano, as to get the drone up and down fast. I decided against it as I was too lazy and the conditions did not look promising. I of course should have gone down, as that would have optimized the chance of getting the shot.

The sun peaked out from the clouds just at sunset and lit the clouds a little. I flew the drone to get the photo. As it turned out I did not time it correctly and the drone was stuck in the air getting pushed out of the composition by the strong wind. I got this photo and as you can see it was moments before the clouds caught light.

As I could not get the drone back into position and the clouds started lighting up opposite the sun, I made the call to fly the drone to that other angle and get that shot instead. Had I gone down from the crater I could have taken the drone down. Waited for the burn to pop and flown the drone. Instead, I had to crash-land it in some bushes, as I did not have enough battery to get it back. I got two mediocre photos instead of the photo I came for.

Safe to say I was extremely angry with myself as I was the only one to blame. I had foreseen the situation, but I was too lazy to react to it. That is it. I was too lazy. That will never happen again! Check out the video for the full story, lots of epic drone footage, the time-lapse showing the after burn and a couple of more photos.

Have you ever missed a photo because you were lazy? Let me hear the story down below.

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Danish Fine Art Landscape Photographer and YouTuber. He is taking photos all over the world but the main focus is the cold, rough, northern part of Europe. His style is somewhere in between dramatic and colorful fantasy and Scandinavian minimalism. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel for epic landscape photography videos from around the world.

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