Over the past few weeks I’ve watched a couple of videos and read a few articles on why we create landscape photographs. I don’t believe there is one single answer to this, as of course the reason why we do anything in life should be personal to the individual in question.
For me, the reason for landscape photography is becoming ever clearer the more that I pursue it, and interestingly enough it’s becoming less about the final image.
I’ve just been looking at a couple of images from our recent 3 month stint in the van, part of which we spent in Glen Affric. The weather was a little bit wild and we found ourselves, as we did quite often on that trip, van-bound, as the wind and rain rocked the van.
It’s okay we had plenty of tea and biscuits to keep us company.
For those familiar with the area you will know that getting any kind of mobile phone service is impossible. so we were unable to check when (or even if) the weather would clear. Earlier that day it had said it would about an hour before sunset so we trusted in that, donned our Harold and Hilda outfits and headed outside.
After a walk around the lower part below the Glen Affric Circuit Car Park, we headed up, around 300m, to the Am Meallan viewpoint and it was then that we started to see the beginnings of something special happening out to the west, towards the setting sun.
As many a photographer has said, putting yourself in the position of incoming or outgoing weather systems can reveal some spectacular conditions and this is what we were treated to this particular evening. Glimpses of crepuscular rays beaming down, creating pockets of light across the landscape, illuminating the numerous clumps of Scots Pine dotted out as far as the eye could see.
I could tell that if the sun was given even the smallest of breaks in the cloud we could be treated to some wonderful light and thankfully that is what happened, albeit briefly.
What I do remember about that evening however was the fact that we were alone up there witnessing something truly wonderful. The conditions, the beautiful Scottish Landscape, a real feeling of being alive, all of our senses working in overdrive to try and drink in as much of the experience as possible.
Often these experiences, as a photographer, are solitary pursuits and it can be impossible to translate the feeling to friends and family upon our return, even with the help of an image or two. In this case I am so pleased that it was an experience shared with Nicola, as part of my memory is listening to her excitement and watching her face, wet from the rain but warm from the setting sun, beam with pure joy at what she was witnessing. We hugged, we held hands like love struck teenagers and we made lots of coo-ing and ahhhh noises.
And now, several weeks later, I look at the image itself and am instantly transported back to that evening. It’s not a particularly good image technically or aesthetically, however it remains one of my favourite ones from my time spent in that region simply for its ability to transport me back there. I can almost feel the rain and wind on my face, the feeling of elation as the warm sun danced in front of us. Standing there alone with Nicola amongst such beauty.
So for me Landscape Photography is fast becoming much more about the experience rather than the final image as I truly believe it will be those experiences that I hold dear in years to come.