Most people reading this article, going to workshops, and watching YouTube content want to improve their landscape photography. It is the question I get asked the most, and there are many answers and solutions to this. But without doubt, the most important part, but often the hardest, is actually being in the right place at the right time.
The image below is one of my favorites, but it wasn't that difficult to take. It didn't rely on my knowing any special camera techniques or understanding difficult editing in Lightroom. The one thing it did require was being there and waiting for the right light.
So, anybody with a camera and tripod could have taken this shot given some basic understanding of exposure. It didn't have a particularly difficult-to-find composition with a strong foreground, as that wasn't needed. Being there when the mist cleared and sun set was the key element in this photograph. I spent eight hours in this location to ensure I got a image I was happy with.
So, why do I think this is the most difficult part of photography? It comes down to human nature and patience. It is often too easy to come up with a reason not to go out. Maybe the light doesn't look great at the moment, maybe you aren't in an inspiring location, or maybe you don't like getting up early.
Take this image that I took on the fifth morning in a run where I got up at 4 a.m. each day (I talk more about that here). It was actually in a very small woodland three miles from my house that I had driven past and ignored many times. On the fifth morning, I almost gave in and didn't go, but patience paid off, and I eventually got the conditions and location I had hoped for. But it was only hard work and perseverance that made this happen — not a specific camera or tutorial.
However, buying a new Nikon Z7, Fuji X-T2, Sony a7R III or (wait, is there a new Canon camera too?) will not make a change in your ability to take better photos. It may inspire you to go out, but that fades away. To truly improve your photography, you need to bite the bullet and get out in different conditions as much as possible. Practice patience and perseverance, and I am sure you will find that you photography improves dramatically. Staying inside and watching YouTube or going out to visit a camera store may feel like a positive step and be instantly rewarding, but ultimately will only reduce your chances of getting out. Actually, maybe watch a couple of YouTube videos.
So, in this video, I talk about how getting out at sunrise may have been difficult, but it resulted in something special, and it wasn't just a great photo.