Summer Is Not as Bad as You Think for Landscape Photography

Summer has a bad rep among landscape photographers for being the worst season for photographing landscapes. However, as with everything else, it is not that black and white.

In his latest video, English landscape photographer Nigel Danson shows how he uses summer to his advantage. The main point is to go scouting and preparing for autumn and winter, where conditions are usually a bit more interesting. What you need to think about and have in mind when you scout is pre-visualization. What is the potential of a certain location and how would it look in different conditions? Danson shows a few locations near his home in the Peak District, where he tries different compositions. At home, he evaluates the photos and discusses what he could have done better, so as to use the time optimally when he is back out during autumn.

Besides the preparation, I would also argue summer in itself could deliver some beautiful, lush photos, not to mention the light. In central and northern Europe, the angle of the sun differs quite a lot during the year, which makes the angle of the light unique. Some photos can only be obtained during summer.

How do you feel about summer for landscape photography? What is the best and worst part of it? Let me hear below.

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17 Comments

JetCity Ninja's picture

it's often more challenging but i like the challenge in capturing something fewer else have.

Fabrice Petruzzi's picture

I live in Switzerland, so summer is the good season to hike and camp on mountain. I love all season, and all are good to take picture in my opinion 😉

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Ah yes, I think Switzerland like the Faroes work really great for those green and blue shots :)

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Not sure why summer would be so bad, vompared to winter, fall or spring ?

I assume it has to do with harsh light?

It seems to me a lot of photographers spend way too much time waiting for the "perfect" time to shoot.

It's probably why so many of them are online arguing about gear, but they sure-as-shit are out shooting.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Well you can get harsh and soft light no matter the season. Of course, it might depend on the location, but here in the North the light in the summer is very nice opposed to the pitch black winter.. lol

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Generally because of the amount of daytime and "good weather" ;)

Paul Lindqvist's picture

So you're saying the amount of daytime and good weather is the reason British landscape photographers finds summer so challenging? :-)

They just do not like green and love "fall colors".

Rob Mitchell's picture

Getting up before you've gone to bed to get a dawn shot is a pain in the summer months.

Tamas Nemeth's picture

Or the opposite. It makes super easy as you can go to sleep after that.
I very much like that sunset and sunrise are merged into one event close to the pole (fx in Iceland), so it's a nice long session for landscape shoot.
On the other hand if you're a bit closer to the Equator (fx. California), I agree, it can be a pain to have only few hours of break between sunset and sunrise hours.

Jordan McChesney's picture

Summer in Japan means rainy season, followed by humid, and 36C season, and then all finished off by typhoon season. It’s next to impossible to get anything worth keeping here in Tokyo/Kanagawa, since vision is incredibly limited. It’s the only time of year I miss home... but we’ve got fireworks, so there’s that.

EL PIC's picture

You need to capture at the perfect moment to be a true artist !
Could be any time, season, weather conditions, or medium ..

Mads Peter Iversen's picture

Or just lucky ;)

Scott Wardwell's picture

99% of my portfolio is warm weather sourced. Who really has problems taking a picture of a summer sunrise or sunset and making it work? If so, then you really need to find another creative outlet.

Michael Coen's picture

Summers here in Los Angeles usually involve a boring cloudless sky, but I don't so much have a problem with the light itself. Cloudless skies, though, can work to our advantage over here for those of us who enjoy doing astro- and Milky Way photography :)

Mark Guinn's picture

Here in upstate SC, summer could easily be considered the worst season for landscape photos. Plants are either too green and thick to get a good depth (everything looks very "2D"), or very burnt looking and brown because of draught and extreme heat. Fall and spring are, without a doubt, the best... More color, morning fogs, and later sunrise (that damn DST). Not to mention that, since this is the South, you'll be drenched in sweat before 9am and it's almost impossible to carry your camera outside without the lens being fogged up for an hour.