Create: Making Sense of Me

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I suck at landscape photography. My heart isn’t in it. My heart is the landscape, for sure, but not in the making of photographs depicting scenery. Why? Because even the best landscape photography pales in comparison to being there.

So what is there to do? Leave the machine in the van? Hell no. Stolen, for sure. So I carry the small, metal beast with and I make things along the way. Simple, silly things that will land on the pages of my journal. I had to find a way to make sense of my deficiencies while out in the world. You can’t always get what you want. Mick told us that. And it’s true.

So I test and I tinker. I swing and I miss. And then I swing again. Try this, try that. And sometimes something sticks. Not often but enough. Expose, recompose, expose. Done. Move on. On this day it was down to the river. Still flowing despite little snow and a monsoon that never came. Drone up and over, buzzing like an angry bee.

Comments 17

  1. Dan,

    Perhaps think about the “Intimate Landscape”, small slices of what you see. The Grand Landscape does lose its allure after a few thousand repeats to the same thing, but life is in the details.

    All the best,


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  2. Dan,
    Totally agree about landscapes. I like to leave them to the guys and gals with paint brushes.
    You have to make the scene abstract, otherwise leave it and drink it in with your eyes.

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      There was a guy painting when I left the parking lot. Came back 2.5 hours later and he was still there. Working one small scene.

  3. I definitely have trouble with understanding broad/sweeping landscapes. However, I continue to find little things right in front of me amazing. To me, the interesting part of an image isn’t a rock (for example)… rather, it is the sunlight and the rock sharing the same space. The fact of that transitory relationship is pretty amazing. More amazing is the fact that there are “scenes” like this all the time that we just don’t notice. Ok, call me a nut. 🙂


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  4. I agree. I’ve tried photographing landscapes but always, always end up running out of patience, searching for a human element (a house, car, village, sign …anything), and always walk away wondering what the point of trying to take a photo was. After all – and some will hate me for saying this – most landscape photography ends up looking the same doesn’t it? I think it’s much better to be active outdoor and always have a camera with you.

    BTW, I keep meaning to try the multi exposure setting on my Lumix S5 but keep forgetting. Your photo has reminded me to try and not forget next time.

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      The Fuji makes it really easy, which is one reason why I love that camera. I have one story where these play a real role. The rest of the time the double is a crutch but I’ll take it.

  5. I’m with Matt on this one. Someone once said that good photography isn’t capturing the what everyone sees. Good photography is capturing what they don’t see. Or something like that.

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      I’m going to feature a book comprised of images I would have walked right by. Portuguese photographer.

  6. It’s that human element that draws me in, too. Also, I’m too lazy for landscape photography. I am tripod inept. I think the Shifter Community will appreciate this NYT photo essay by Stephen Hiltner. The structure is a little odd – the opening seems like a series of captions on top of photos. There is an actual essay further down.

    1. Chuck, you’re welcome! I thought about something similar early on in the pandemic and throughout the pandemic. One of the differences between me and that photographer/writer – he didn’t stop at the thinking.

  7. Coming from landscapes, I get many of the points about the big vista versus intimate. I also see the repetition of idealising nature in set ways of seeing a bit tiresome for the viewer, hence the inclusion of man altered offering more scope. I will say, that for me an area of specific land is a puzzle that I enjoy working on. It think it also helps if there is an element of transformation via the medium. The example here is of coastal dunes shot on infrared film. No way would this scene have sustained my interest without that medium. It’s a 400 yard narrow stretch of sand but that sustains repeat visits.

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