The Lost Landscape Photographer

Now that summer has officially kicked in, you are most likely considering quite a few locations for capturing some great imagery. One can certainly cruise the web, or flip through that stack of landscape magazines you’ve been collecting all year to pick a location and find some of those pretty places splashed on their pages.

About us - Mark Jansen of Jansen Photo ExpeditionsOr perhaps, you’ve opted into quite a few online newsletters, similar to what you’ve seen here and never signed up for a workshop to learn what it’s all about. Maybe you’re hoping to gather some hidden information by cruising the net.

You’ve most likely stumbled around in many locations on your own, armed with the latest “Best location to Shoot” app loaded on your phone. You probably need to know more about the photographic process than you care to admit. You’re not alone. You’ll probably catch a fleeting moment of weak light from time to time hoping to tweak it into some hyper-real fantasy in post-processing. You then receive comments from your friends and family. You know, the one you always got from your mom when you were a kid. “That’s just beautiful, you do such great work”.  And then your friends would say, “Do you do weddings?”

After some frustrations heading out on your own, or with your buddies, you finally realize you’re just one of the thousands of people doing the same thing. You soon resort to following the masses of other lost landscape photographers, pawning elbow to elbow. They spend more time rattling off camera specifications rather than appreciating the scene before them and really working on how to get the shot. They’ll take thousands of useless photos since it’s digital and it costs nothing, but never quite capture anything meaningful and most likely never process any of them.

Sorry to say, if you’ve been toying with camera gear (and I do mean toying) and not thinking beyond the lens, there really is nothing new in photography since film. Digital is just the new method of capturing light. Some will really never understand this.

I’ve been lost on the gear train myself from time to time. But you finally come to the realization that the latest camera gear doesn’t make great art, especially in landscapes. As far as professional grade digital cameras go, it’s been pretty good the last years or so. Once you’re satisfied with your preferred lens angle, and you like the resolution your camera output is providing, you’re all set, in my opinion. Your camera must be a natural extension of your hand and thoughts of its function should be minimal beyond the lens, aperture, and exposure selection for what is required to create as an artist. This needs to become instinctual and second nature.

What’s more important in landscape photography is learning how to see compositionally and knowing a little bit about the natural world and feeling its rhythms. Learning how to place yourself within the landscape and seeking its compositions and structures will help you reflect your inner vision as an artist. Then you can create great images.

Big Sur Photography Workshop
Focused small groups rule!

What I’m talking about are the fleeting moments of light and shadow all of us as humans have experienced from time to time with the naked eye. Anything more is pure fantasy. Nothing wrong with that, if that’s your goal, but that’s not what I’m talking about here and hopefully not why you’re reading this. Or maybe you’re thinking about wanting to attend one of our private or small group photography workshops and learn what it’s all about.

Most of our clients don’t have the time and knowledge to capture these moments, whether it’s a long weekend or a few weeks a year at best. They come to us and rely on our professional photography guide service to assist them with first hand, boots on the ground information and our 20 years of experience to help them capture the light.

As professional photography guides, My wife Holly and I  have spent years in many given locations published on our website and many other unique locations not advertised on our site. We know where the best place is to be for the best light at the optimum time of year. We always take into account any weather and how this would affect the natural environment from moment to moment.

The magic of a great landscape is truly a result of repeated visitations and preparation for that special moment and a little luck to happen. Being with someone who knows how to recognize the natural rhythms of light and shadow will put you way ahead of trying and failing on your own. Especially if you don’t have all the time in the world.

Jansen Photo Expeditions is a guiding service and we’ve been dancing to these rhythms for many successful years now. All of this is done to save you time and trouble when your feet hit the ground. We stress this on all of the workshops personally in an attempt to convey as much information as each client is prepared to absorb. We do this hands-on, through private photography workshops and small group photography workshops. If you’re prepared to step away from all the noise and learn what it takes to get the shot let us know, we’d be happy to help anyone on the true creative journey in the natural world.

Good Luck, and all the best!

Mark Jansen

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Mark’s interest in photography and love for landscape photography draws him into some amazing places and he freely shares this knowledge on his photography workshops. He researches his subjects extensively, making many trips to selected areas waiting for the perfect light, an interesting approach to the subject, and just the right moment. His goal of "freezing time for others to enjoy" is what drives him to create his visions and teach workshops.

Mark offers photographic workshops in numerous U.S. and International locations with his business, Jansen Photo Expeditions. He is an expert and personable instructor, expedition leader and award winning, visionary photographer. 

Mark has over 25 years of professional fine art and photographic experience. He has a passion for landscape and classic aviation photography and provides large scale commercial installations of his fine art photographic murals and print works throughout California. He works with both small and large corporate businesses in helping them project a powerful impact through his images.


About Mark and Holly
Mark and Holly Jansen
Jansen Photo Expeditions
(805) 701-8807 or


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