Landscape photographers use a camera to capture stunning images, but have you stopped to think about how the same camera is a key to experiences? A key to new places. A key to new adventures. A key to an enhanced experience with nature. A key to meeting new people.
The hobby of landscape photography starts innocently enough. We buy a camera because we want something a little nicer than our phone. You take it with you to the local park and start taking pictures.
Those walks become more frequent. Then you are reading more and more articles about photography or watching more videos about photography. You start consuming anything to improve your craft of photography.
The photography bug has bitten.
Doors Begin to Open
From this point forward, the camera becomes the key to experiences and more than just a tool to capture images. It starts with exploring beyond your local area. You start researching and planning trips regionally, maybe to places close to home you haven’t visited before. Or perhaps neighboring states to check out landscape photography.
Eventually, you start planning trips to more iconic locations. Planning longer and longer road trips. Planning flights, either cross-country or internationally, with the intent to visit places for your landscape photography. With planning, these trips become a reality and you find yourself in amazing locations, camera in hand, and capturing landscape images. The camera was key to these explorations of new places.
The camera has led me to many regional state parks I would never have considered visiting. The camera has led me to distant national parks within the US for landscape photography.
Enhanced Experiences in Nature
As the camera leads you to exploration — traveling regionally and further to practice the landscape photography craft, it doesn’t stop there. As you continue to explore, your senses become more in tune with the natural landscape around you. You transcend from being a tourist in these locations and begin to truly experience these locations at a new level. You notice the light. The soft glow of sunrise or sunset. Dappled light across a mountain valley or the surrounding hills and mountains. How the light hits a tree trunk in the forest.
You notice and pay attention to weather conditions more — rain, snow, fog, frost — all weather elements that can add to and enhance your landscape photos. You start thinking about how specific locations will be affected by the predicted weather and planning outings to visit during those times.
All these things you begin to notice because of the camera. The camera led you to pay even closer attention to your natural environment. The camera is key to these enhanced experiences in nature.
I have become much more aware of noticing how the light falls and the weather — even when I am not actively out photographing. The camera has made me more in tune with these experiences outside. My appreciation has grown in the outdoors, even when the camera isn’t in hand.
Meeting Other Photographers
The camera is more than just a key to visiting new locations near and far or opening yourself up to being more aware of the natural world around you - but it can be a key to meeting new people. The camera opens doors from online communities for landscape photographers to meeting other local photographers.
From frequent conversations with Instagram friends (whom I have yet to meet in person) to meeting some of these same people on destination trips - the camera has helped me meet these new like-minded people. People with similar interests. People who like to talk about the same photography things. People with different artistic styles help me see landscapes differently and grow my approach.
In many ways, a camera has been a key to experiences and opportunities I might not have otherwise had. How about you? How has the camera been a key to experiences for you?