There are many ways to approach an iconic location when shooting landscape photography. You could just shoot it the way 1,000’s of other photographers have, or come up with your own creative ideas.
It helps to a plan when going to a location, and have a concept of how you want to shoot it. Pre-visualization is the key!
Recently, I returned to an iconic Iceland location. It is a long drive to reach this place and you really only get a short time to get the image you want. Many factors come in to play in Iceland, and most of it is because of the weather. It can be very windy and cold. It’s not the type of weather you would like to stand out in for hours to get the perfect shot.
Because I had been there before, I knew the layout of the land, and this time, I had a specific idea. I wanted a reflection on the beach with a leading line of the water. I was looking at my past images of this location, and I thought that there was something missing in those images. I felt my pre-visualization might help me capture a better image.
The pre-visualization of an image will only work if you have all the elements you need. Composition, exposure, and the weather all need to be in your favor. But, instead of wandering around looking for a concept, you already have one. Sometimes, when you are in an iconic place such as this, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and revert back to an image that you might have seen before. But why do that? You are doing photography to create something unique and creative, something that will have your own stamp on it.
With this image, I really thought about how I wanted to photograph this iconic location. I wanted the leading line of the waves but didn’t really think through how that was going to work. It was quite cold and windy and my first thought was to go back to the car and get warm. But that wouldn’t have helped me with my goal.
Be prepared for the unexpected.
Was the wind going to be blowing 30mph? Was the water going to come up and leave my feet in my “waterproof boots” completely drenched? Were there going to be people walking in the foreground of my shot? None of this had come to mind when I decided this is the shot that I wanted, but I was still able to come up with an image I really love.
Part of the pre-visualization of an image also has to do with how you will adjust the image in post-processing. Every image will need some post processing as the camera does not see the color and light the way your eyes do. Even when you are shooting with a high megapixel camera that’s not possible. The high megapixel camera, will, however, give you a wider dynamic range to work with later in Lightroom.
If you would like some help with your photographic vision or how to implement it in post processing, join us at Jansen Photo Expeditions for one of our private or group workshops in California, Oregon, Wyoming, Iceland, or the destination of your choice. You will have an enriching learning experience and go home with a camera full of prized photographs.
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