Being a landscape photographer means that the most meticulous or sometimes frivolous thing we do is pre-plan. Sometimes, these plans are our way to take the chance of making a mistake or they're so we walk away with what our mind has already created but our camera hasn’t captured. What happens when our planning doesn't work?
Thomas Heaton is a consistent landscape photographer who plans out his images so they have the highest probability of coming to fruition. Sometimes, those plans fall through due to the reality that no one controls the weather. This doesn’t stop Heaton from looking for more than just the image he had planned for and finding a subject that was his “nemesis” in the Scottish Highlands.
One of my biggest obstacles when photographing now is if my plans don’t follow through and the weather is not cooperating, I’m content to stay in my tent and get a few more hours of sleep. It’s already tough trying to capture imagery on too few hours of sleep and then to have the concept you were hoping for be elusive or just simply not happen due to forces outside of your control. It also opens you up to making the most of what we are sometimes given and being flexible with what our expectations could and should be.
I believe we should be intentional when creating artwork, and having a plan of action that will help create that reality is how we pre-conceptualize as landscape photographers. The other side of that idea is to remain flexible so we don’t miss an opportunity that has presented itself. There’ve been more than a few times where I was stuck on an idea for an image and missed what I could have created only to realize what I missed after the fact. If your image-making plans don’t work out, don’t fret. Take a moment and look for the opportunity you could have to create now instead of the image you had in your mind that will still be waiting for you next time.