When Landscape Photography Goes Wrong

There's no better feeling in the world for a landscape photographer than watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset light up the sky with an array of colors. There's no worse feeling than not being able to take advantage of that lighting and going home empty-handed.

In his latest video, landscape photographer and YouTuber Thomas Heaton shares a frustrating experience of being unable to capture a satisfactory image during a spectacular sunset in Scotland. Though the light and color are beautiful, Heaton runs out of time searching for a composition and doesn't land the shot. Heaton's loss can be your gain however as he uses his misstep to explain composition theory, demonstrating why the image he did take doesn't work well.

I've had this happen on numerous occasions especially when shooting in an unfamiliar location for the first time. As with most things in life, preparation is the key to success. As I detailed in my midnight sun photography guide I try to prepare extensively before landscape photography trips with a list of potential compositions in hand before arriving at my location. However, there are certainly occasions where I'm just not able to plan in advance and I show up to a new location cold, hoping for the best. Though I have captured the stray portfolio image in those situations, more often than not, I end up frantically running around looking for a shot as the light starts to fade. 

What's your shooting style? Earnest preparation or run and gun? Let me know in the comments below.

Log in or register to post comments

4 Comments

Robert Nurse's picture

Rushed compositions: tell me about it. It seems that even the best of us share failings. Nice video.

I’m not sure taking landscape photos require that much drama .....

You invest in camera gear, travel, fuel, wear and tear on your vehicle & education (CDB) and you end up being a step behind. It happens quite often and it's frustrating-Heaton's video sums it up quite nicely.

Good point. We’ve all been there ...