Can’t Go to Epic Locations? Rediscovering the Passion for Local Landscape Photography

Can’t Go to Epic Locations? Rediscovering the Passion for Local Landscape Photography

If you, like I, are stuck in less than inspiring locations you might need a little push or kick to actually get out and do what you love: landscape photography.

What initially made me fall 110 percent in love with landscape photography is the common story of visiting Iceland with a camera. I have returned on several occasions and visited some of the most epic and famous landscape photography locations in both Europe and the USA since. Big epic sweeping vistas, awe-inspiring mountains, majestic waterfalls, and grand glaciers. Not to mention ticking off both Milky Way and aurora photography.

Living in Denmark, which is mainly a rural country with young forests (no old growth) or huge Red Woods, I have spent most of the past three years looking for locations outside of Denmark. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that Danish nature isn’t beautiful, it very much is. It is just not photogenic in the same way the “classic” landscape photography destinations are.

A lighthouse being swallowed by a dune. One of the few "epic" and unique locations we have in Denmark.

To find something original, unique, special, photogenic, and interesting to photograph is hard if not impossible. I really have not been inspired at all. Denmark just does not have what Iceland, California, the U.K., or the Alps region of Europe have.

Or maybe I should just stop whining and actually get to work.

For the past years, I have spent so much time focusing on what Denmark does not have I have overlooked what we do have.

Denmark has many fishing boats along our coasts. At some places they're dragged onto the beach during night.

Danish nature is fairly simple. This invites not only to minimalist photography but also to intimate scenes. On top of that, since many locations isn’t “inspiring” at first glance you might have to look outside the box and actually work for your composition. Just like photographers do.

In northern Denmark we have some relatively large dunes, which makes for some minimalist photography.

A straight down drone photo of a jetty called "Infinite Bridge" located in the town of Aarhus.

A cormorant sitting still for 30 seconds on a rock in the ocean.

A Minimalist Winter Morning

During a morning last week with hoarfrost and fog, I visited a hill only a 30 minutes’ drive from where I live. While sitting in the car I came by multiple scenes and compositions, which only required a push on the bottom. The fog and frosty conditions made for many beautiful and minimalist photos.

Arriving at the location, I just had to climb the hill where many silver birches are spread out with a good amount of space in between. In this way, it is simple to isolate each tree. The fog and hoarfrost created separation to the background making the trees stand out even more. When I had my wide-angle shot, I changed to the long lens and started to pick out different compositions. The photos are simple, almost abstract, and the pastel colors calms the photo down even more.

Check out my video from the morning below.

After returning home, I was thoroughly surprised and felt inspired in a completely new way. Since then I have been out photographing Denmark even more and I might have gotten some of my favorite photos from Denmark ever. Those, however, are for another article.

Conclusion

For me there are a couple of important things to take away from an experience like this.

Firstly, start exploring your own neighborhood and pick out locations that might be interesting during certain times. Landscape photography is utterly dependent on weather conditions, even the classic epic locations are. What locations can work during fog? Which during the golden hour? Is it seasonal? Summer, winter, autumn? What makes for minimalism or which could work from a drone? When the required conditions for your previsualized photo happens, you just have to get there and push the bottom.

Secondly, most of these photos will do horrible on Instagram. They only receive one-tenth of the engagement as some of my other photos. They simply just does not work on a small medium as the phone. Even on a computer screen they can be underwhelming. These photos are not “in your face,” which Instagram for the most part require. However, because they are not “in your face” you can hang them on your wall without having a piece of wall art, which takes all the attention of the room. A piece of art, which actually calms down the room.

Are you photographing locally? How do you like it? Check out the video and let me hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Absolutely correct, I find landscapes every where I look in S Florida without a hill or mountain in site.