There are landscape photographers who do not visit classic locations as they have been photographed by others and there is nothing new or unique to offer any more. On the other hand, we have those who believe that these same locations have something new to offer at any time; bearing in mind weather conditions, the time of year, light variations and even our own mood and inspiration.
My question is which camp do you belong to?
Many of you will recognise the location in my picture and, for those who do not, this is the classic viewpoint of the mountain Buachaille Etive Mor in the Glencoe area of Scotland.
I have been standing at that same spot on more occasions than I care to remember and, to be quite honest, every time I stand there I get the same awe-inspiring feeling that surely fills every avid landscape photographer’s soul. There is something about this location that shouts ‘Wild Scotland’ and, as many of us know, ‘Wild Scotland’ means inspiration.
To the point
Why on earth do I want to visit the same location time and again? As well as the reasons mentioned above, I strive to capture every location I visit under the best light possible. This means, of course, that I need to visit a location again and again. I remember viewing the picture of a location on a landscape photographer’s book cover, thinking that this beautiful location could, and would, look much nicer under a better light. I felt sad that the photographer did not visit the location at a different time and get the best from it; after all, it was his book’s cover picture. I suppose this is how I feel about creating images of landscapes.
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The large image was created using a wide angle lens at 24mm. The reason for using this focal length was to capture the amazing mood and light on the mountain itself with that rare pink glow, having spent many winter mornings standing there in freezing conditions. I only wish there was a bit more water in the waterfall but, yet again, I am very pleased with the result.
Taking the smaller picture now, let me explain the compositional facts. By no means does it match the large image with its first impression or beauty, at least when it comes to the spectacular light scale. So, why did I use the much wider angle focal length of 17mm? It was simply because there was different light, a different view and even a different personal mood. This time, what inspired me was not the light itself but the immense power of the waterfall. In this image I wanted to emphasise the element of water, and the effect it had on my mood while standing there, as well as its surrounding environment.
To top it all, as the sky was blue (not my favourite sky) with small fluffy clouds, I decided to opt for a two minutes’ exposure in order to create an ethereal effect; something that would make it look ‘out of this world’.
So, there you have it, a different day, different conditions, different mood, different picture, but the same classic well known location.
Am I likely to visit the place again at some point in the future? The answer is, probably.