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Heroique
1-Sep-2015, 12:51
Does your neighborhood offer too few LF landscape opportunities?



If yes, is it your neighborhood's fault, your equipment's, or yours? If you can, please explain your situation.
If no (i.e., your local opportunities are boundless), what are the associated risks, if any, to your LF work? And how do you address them?



As for me, I’m a "no" person. I'm blessed by the natural beauty of my immediate region (Pacific NW). Craggy mountains, steamy volcanoes, wave-splashed sea stacks, heaven-high waterfalls, giant evergreen trees. But I fear my region's "ease" often fails to challenge, and therefore improve, my ability to visualize or compose. One way I try to "stay sharp" is to do LF studies of individual subjects over time. For example, a slowly dying tree over the years – or a creek bend from the same viewpoint under various kinds of weather or water flow. I've discovered that a long-term relationship with a unique subject keeps my artistic attention from being scattered by the boundless landscape opportunities around me, like a kid in a candy shop.

Whether yes or no, what thoughts can you share that might help the rest of us?

Jac@stafford.net
1-Sep-2015, 13:04
My area is beautiful, but I've walked, ridden and driven through it for so long I no longer see it. My fault!

Heroique
1-Sep-2015, 13:14
I know what you mean – when the repeated familiarity of seeing interferes with the imaginative insight of vision.

One tried-and-true personal solution...

If hiking, leave the trail with (or without) map and compass and invite Zen to help out. :cool:

And if driving, take the other fork.

Jmarmck
1-Sep-2015, 14:38
Well, the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But here the grass is actually greener. Everything is greener...............but that is not what I want. One can only shoot palmetto plants so much. Agri gets boring after the first couple trips. Swamps do not lend themselves to hiking. There is virtually NO public land in south Georgia. (Bryan will probably object). No natl parks, forests, or monuments. It is all private. Even the public land is private "Jones Center". You cannot float the lower Ichawaynochaway Creek because the Jones Center will not allow it. I do have conservation land as a neighbor. It is and old abandoned golf course. Unkept for the most part, except where I choose to mow. There is virtually no fall colors here. No snow. There is lightning but this year has been a very poor season.

Still, if I could find the time I always find something to shoot. But this is not Monument Valley, Death Valley, Escalante River, Mammoth Lakes, or even the Ozarks/Ouachita Mtns. of my birth state of Arkansas. What do all the places have in common, Mountains. I live in the coastal planes. Boo Hoo.

Bill_1856
1-Sep-2015, 15:02
I grew up in a beautiful area of East Tennessee, but never made any significant landscape photos.
When I go back 60 years later I can see the beauty, but still am unable to see any way to photograph it, any more than as Edward Weston once quoted in derision: "Ain't Nature Grand."

Corran
1-Sep-2015, 15:09
There is virtually NO public land in south Georgia. (Bryan will probably object).

Nah I agree. GA sucks. That's why I'm in Florida more and more. It does suck to have to drive many miles away to get somewhere, as opposed to it being "in the neighborhood" so to speak.

I'm lucky that there is one local patch of land I can hike but it's 1) treacherous during the rainy season 2) sometimes dangerous due to the types of people hanging out there and 3) I've about photographed it to death!

Bill, I think some people just don't like/see landscapes. You might be one of them (I don't mean this as an accusation or derogatorily, fyi).

Jody_S
1-Sep-2015, 15:47
I have 2 very photogenic municipal parks within 5 miles of me. I often walk or cycle there. There are 2 more quite large ones within another 2-3 miles. Yes I do have to challenge myself to see something new each time. Besides that, I have to drive 2+ hours to get anywhere there is 'scenery'.

Greg Miller
1-Sep-2015, 16:16
It strikes that the entire question is faulty (assuming this question is specific to landscape photography). We don't photograph objects, we photograph light on objects. If beautiful photographs relied on beautiful objects, most photographs would not exist. A mediocre subject in great light makes for a much more compelling photo than a great photo in mediocre light.

We don't need a wealth of beautiful landscapes, we just need to see the light falling upon the landscape that we have. Was/is Herandez always a great subject? I think not. Only in the right light did it make for a great subject. Here is one of my favorite personal photos (http://www.gregmillerphotography.com/#!/index/G0000YH77qfiARSE/I0000JldylgnxM6w). Its a boring subject in a boring location. I took the same photo about 5 minutes later (just for demo purposes) after the light changed and its an awful photo.

Old-N-Feeble
1-Sep-2015, 17:00
My area definitely has no grand landscapes. I could drive a day or two to see some 'okay' landscapes. The only thing to do is search for small hidden gems within the limits here. No excuses regarding getting no decent images but no grandiose places like Yellowstone or Yosemite to be seen.

Heroique
1-Sep-2015, 17:09
There is virtually NO public land in south Georgia. (Bryan will probably object). No natl parks, forests, or monuments. It is all private.

I've always been curious about Okefenokee Nat'l Wildlife Refuge/Wilderness, and I’m curious if you or others, perhaps Corran, have been there. With LF gear, of course. Any reports about its potential?

I imagine that despite its great size and romantic scenery, there are probably very few places of terra firma to plant a tripod!

And what about nearby Cumberland Island Nat'l Seashore? I've never been there either, but I can only imagine how thrilling it would be to disappear for several days into its interior of Live Oaks and hanging mosses, or explore its lonely beaches with my LF gear.

I don't remember the southeastern corner of Georgia being discussed here as a rich place for LF landscape opportunities, but maybe it should be?

Jmarmck
1-Sep-2015, 17:35
The Suwannee River Basin (Okefenokee Swamp) covers a very large part of S. and SE Georgia. The land use and land cover is split on a north-south line with ag and timber in the west half and timber and swamp in the eastern half. I have never been there but I have spent weeks with Google Earth mapping objects in that region. There are very few roads in the WLR area. There are areas that are permanent water and areas that are temporarily inundated. Most all of it is tree covered. Getting around would be difficult and would probably require some personal knowledge to safely navigate regardless of mode of transportation. Also, you don't want to become gator fodder.

As for Cumberland, I have never been. I planned to go and did look into access. The only way there is by ferry. There is no motorized vehicle access. Bicycles are allowed and available for rent.
If you miss the last ferry you are on the island for the night. I am not sure about camping. If you go I would suggest a cool season. The humidity would be down and the gnats will been gone. That may sound like a small thing but the gnats can be really unbearable.....unless you enjoy eating and breathing them. I want to go in late November or in early March either side of winter and well ahead of humidity and bug season. There is lodging available on the island at the Carnegie house/castle but I have heard that it is pretty rustic and non-private for the large fees.

Corran
1-Sep-2015, 17:46
Okefenokee is vast yes and as Marty mentioned a guide (and a boat of course) is needed. I was told that shooting handheld from said boat was de rigueur - not optimal for LF landscape work. I have been to the "gates" so to speak and the surrounding area, but it's not great. The Suwannee River area is more interesting. Swampland gets tiresome.

Cumberland is on my list. I want to go for several days. Camping is a must, the ferry leaves long before golden hour is even a thought.

Peak shooting down here is usually the winter time when it's not oppressively hot and humid. I imagine even some seasoned outdoorsmen on the forum would be a bit overwhelmed by it.

I just finished a video from chest-mounted GoPro footage of some backwoods Florida areas. I will post to YouTube soon and maybe share a link.

Heroique
1-Sep-2015, 17:56
Alas, sounds like two unique wilderness areas that deserve greater attention here, but with significant limitations on access and getting around for the LFer.

I'd love to devote some film to a southern swamp (or Golden Isle) that might otherwise go to PNW mountains.

I'd even endure the gnats and gators for a few good images.

Jmarmck
1-Sep-2015, 18:05
I would gladly endure some rain, fog, and chill to experience the Washington coast and explore the Olympia Peninsula.
I endured the inter-mountain west in January and thoroughly enjoyed it despite damaging one Zone VI, loosing three cable releases, and getting chased out of a couple places due to weather. Well worth the hassles.

jp
1-Sep-2015, 18:24
Almost no grand landscapes here.
It's a goldmine of intimate landscapes here though. Eliot Porter books turned me on to that. If you're into intimate landscapes, there are no excuses here, except maybe when it's a blizzard out or pouring rain.
I visit the same places over and over mostly and have done so for years. I often see something new (that isn't really new) and I get excited and re-energized by the idea that I'm still seeing new things after years of regular visit.

David Aimone
1-Sep-2015, 18:44
Nice work Greg!


It strikes that the entire question is faulty (assuming this question is specific to landscape photography). We don't photograph objects, we photograph light on objects. If beautiful photographs relied on beautiful objects, most photographs would not exist. A mediocre subject in great light makes for a much more compelling photo than a great photo in mediocre light.

We don't need a wealth of beautiful landscapes, we just need to see the light falling upon the landscape that we have. Was/is Herandez always a great subject? I think not. Only in the right light did it make for a great subject. Here is one of my favorite personal photos (http://www.gregmillerphotography.com/#!/index/G0000YH77qfiARSE/I0000JldylgnxM6w). Its a boring subject in a boring location. I took the same photo about 5 minutes later (just for demo purposes) after the light changed and its an awful photo.

Jmarmck
1-Sep-2015, 19:14
Almost no grand landscapes here.
It's a goldmine of intimate landscapes here though. Eliot Porter books turned me on to that. If you're into intimate landscapes, there are no excuses here, except maybe when it's a blizzard out or pouring rain.
I visit the same places over and over mostly and have done so for years. I often see something new (that isn't really new) and I get excited and re-energized by the idea that I'm still seeing new things after years of regular visit.
I have a brother in Lubec. He works at Roosevelt Campobello Park. I keep pushing him to get a better camera because the photos he posts are outstanding. The shoreline and all the elements that go with it are very tantalizing from my perspective.

Corran
1-Sep-2015, 19:15
I'd love to devote some film to a southern swamp (or Golden Isle) that might otherwise go to PNW mountains.


I would gladly endure some rain, fog, and chill to experience the Washington coast and explore the Olympia Peninsula.

I think the constant here is the wish to explore something "different" from the typical landscape one experiences on a regular basis.

It reminds me of something I hate about not the south or the local landscape, but instead my circumstances - a few times a year here the weather does something funny, where the entire area is coated with "fog" but instead of being along the ground it's higher in the air, but only a few dozen feet over the ground. It's very interesting and it's like everything glows. I'm sure this isn't a rare thing (probably caused by humidity and such) but anyway the point is, after many years, it's never been something I could capture simply because it happens so infrequently and lasts only 30 minutes, maybe an hour or two at best, and every time it happens I'm usually on my way to work rather than a photo outing! Frustrating.

Vaughn
1-Sep-2015, 19:16
Well, my county was ranked #2 in "natural amenities" in the USA http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/08/17/every-county-in-america-ranked-by-natural-beauty/

But most of my photography was been along the same stretch of creek for the past 45 years -- but it is nice to get out of the county and hit a few other nice places in the state.

One of the early photos along Prairie Creek -- from cropped 4x5 negative from 1980 (scanned silver gelatin print).

Jmarmck
1-Sep-2015, 19:20
Down the street there is a yard with large pines. Early in the morning the sun beams through the trees highlighting the mist and shadows. I have seen this countless times on the way to work but never took the time to capture the scene. Another was on a trip to Atlanta. I was about 20 miles north of town going up 300. There to the east the sun was just coming up. in the foreground was a field of wheat ready for harvest. It was covered in dew. Very nice with the sun playing off each wheat head. I have yet to see that again.

Heroique
1-Sep-2015, 20:35
It is nice to get out of the county and hit a few other nice places in the state.

Yes, nothing like a new place to recharge the LF landscape batteries!

Congratulations to Vaughn's 2nd place Humboldt County, Calif. for its beautiful scenery and climate. Yes, that's #2 in the entire nation. If anyone's curious, 1st place went to Ventura County, Calif.

*** Say, something's fishy here – every single one of the top 10 counties is located in California! The top five are: Ventura County, Humboldt, Santa Barbara, Mendocino and Del Norte.

At least the writer says that Hawaii might have swept all the top spots, but data about its counties apparently wasn't available. Nor was data available for Alaska. So the counties in those two beautiful states weren't included in the rankings.

-----
The worst county in the U.S.A. for scenery and climate? Red Lake County, Minnesota. (If any LFers live there, I imagine they'll be posting here very soon.)

NedL
1-Sep-2015, 21:04
No excuses here :)

dwross
2-Sep-2015, 06:35
:)That map is very fishy. I can't argue with Humboldt Co rating at the top (Vaughn's photography proves that!), but to have the "highest" category stop at the Oregon border?? Also, Lane Co., Oregon, is much lower ranked than surrounding counties. They are the county just south of mine and the landscape in Lane goes from the spectacular Oregon Dunes through the Coast Range and Eugene and the Willamette Valley and then up into the Cascades. You could spend a lifetime photographing in Lane County and not run out of material.

re Red Lake, Minnesota: I grew up two counties south of there. It's an economically stressed county, but it has beautiful scenery. Huge lake and wetlands. Winter weather no worse than a lot of the northern US.

Me thinks the map should be ignored. A photographer brings beauty to the scenery, not the other way around.

Michael R
2-Sep-2015, 07:31
The mountain in the middle of my city offers some potentially interesting opportunities. I have a short list of photographs I'll eventually make there. However since my primary interest is in "urban" lansdcapes there are virtually endless opportunities, with great stuff mere footsteps from where I live. I keep a list and it grows every day. I'll never be able to get to it all, but I guess that's one of the better problems you can have.

Corran
2-Sep-2015, 08:16
I just finished a video from chest-mounted GoPro footage of some backwoods Florida areas. I will post to YouTube soon and maybe share a link.

As promised - you can see the area pretty well in this video. This is a wonderful and beautiful area - but, you have to canoe upriver about an hour to get there (after driving an hour to get to the launch point). No other avenue exists, I've checked the maps. This large area is a tract of wilderness preserved by Florida, which is great, but it's completely undeveloped and wild. Making a quick morning trip to shoot some landscapes is not possible, unfortunately. I also don't own a canoe so my good friend brings his larger boat for us when we go. I want to buy a canoe now...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONgXNbs8KLI

These kinds of wilderness areas aren't common in GA though. Florida is overrun with them.

Jmarmck
2-Sep-2015, 09:10
I think a distinction between north Georgia and south Georgia would be in order. Two completely worlds divided by the so called "gnat line".
One of the most overlooked areas is northern Arkansas in the Ozark Mtns. There are very large areas of national forests with water in most of the valleys. Buffalo River is a national river that is known for its canoeing but it also has scenery out the kazoo with the water, trees, and bluffs. There are several other significant streams in this area. Oh, do not forget the fishing. Ouachita Mtns are different as they are geologically different. Still the same beauty if not more so. It just depends upon what you like in landscapes. Not much row crop farming if any. Any open areas are for cattle or forage. US Hwy 270 from Hot Springs is the jump off point for adventures. In the Ozarks AR Hwy 7, 16, 23 and others are designated as scenic byways. These are also jump off points for a host of state and US camp ground on some very beautiful creek. May with waterfalls.

As you can tell, I love that area and wish I could move back.

Corran
2-Sep-2015, 09:28
Very true Marty, I was remiss in not saying that. The N. GA mountains are very nice.

There's a small chance I might be moving to the NW area of the state depending on the outcome of some things...

Vaughn
2-Sep-2015, 09:44
:)That map is very fishy...Me thinks the map should be ignored. A photographer brings beauty to the scenery, not the other way around.

Any of these things depend on the choices of what shall be measured and weighted. The Oregon coast got hit hard in the "winter sun" category. I have seen "Best small town" lists that seem to always be the same, only the towns move around in the rankings.

But I have gotten quite spoiled -- this has been a great place to raise my boys. I really over-dosed them on the outdoors!

8x10 carbon print -- Along Prairie Creek...my three boys had to hold still for a two-minute exposure!

Chuck Pere
4-Sep-2015, 06:31
The Chicago area were I live is ringed with a great series of Forest Preserves. I can drive a couple miles and walk along a beautiful river trail. We do have the advantage of a four season climate so you can see the same scene many ways. The places I go to are usually pretty quiet in the morning hours. Being close to home you can pick your days for the light you want, calm winds etc. I shake up the problem of seeing the same thing over and over by using a variety of cameras. But I can't say the pictures I make are for everyone. I lot of people would consider them old fashion and boring.

John Kasaian
4-Sep-2015, 07:25
Too few opportunities? No.
Only landscape opportunities I can't seem to identify.
If no grand vistas are on the horizon, stick a wide angle on your camera's snout and get up close.
I remember a portfolio in View Camera of a Japanese photographer who shot storm drainage in urban areas---wonderful images of subjects most would pass up but for that particular photographer's eye.

Drew Wiley
4-Sep-2015, 08:28
Guess I'm spoiled, always have been. Grew up right smack between three National Parks and multiple designated Wilderness areas, not to mention just walking out the front door, across the road, and heading into canyons so rugged that hardly anyone knew about them or ever bothered to classify them as anything until fairly recently. Now here on the coast, they're adding more Regional Parks and open spaces so fast that I'm never even set foot in half of them. I'm a five minute walk from over 7000 acres of Park, if I'm not in the mood to drive at all. Then there's the State Parks and NP holding like Pt Reyes just a short drive away. And many Sierra destinations are only a three or four hour drive, the desert just past that. Still, if my rear end could survive it, I would live to drive clear across the country sometime. I've seen the Flatlands from the air, and once one goes East from the Rocky Mtn front, it's an alien world to me. I got claustrophobia once, literally, sweaty palms and all, looking out a high hotel window in Dallas on a business trip. Nothing. nothing. No mountains, no forest, no canyons. Just flat. Trapped in, in nothing.

Heroique
4-Sep-2015, 09:43
The places I go to are usually pretty quiet in the morning hours.

Yes, "going early" is one of the best ways to shake the "no-landscape-here" blues.

Good light mixed with silence and solitude.

LF senses seem sharper.


No mountains, no forest, no canyons. Just flat. Trapped in, in nothing.

Sounds like a panicked mountain man on the Chisholm Trail!

Greg Davis
4-Sep-2015, 09:49
In Georgia, I got a lot of good stuff at Providence Canyon out near Americus. Are you two anywhere near that part of the state? I also got a lot in Savannah during grad school that I liked.

Vaughn
4-Sep-2015, 09:55
Duane Michals came out from NYC to Humboldt to give a workshop...his words (approximately), "No wonder people do landscapes out here. Wherever one points the camera there is beauty." It did not sound like it was necessarily a good thing.

http://www.faheykleingallery.com/photographers/michals/personal/michals_pp_frames.htm

Corran
4-Sep-2015, 09:59
In Georgia, I got a lot of good stuff at Providence Canyon out near Americus. Are you two anywhere near that part of the state? I also got a lot in Savannah during grad school that I liked.

I've been to Providence many times (http://valdostafilm.blogspot.com/search/label/Providence%20Canyon), it's a very interesting area. It's a bit far away from me down here. Definitely different than anything else in GA.

Heroique
4-Sep-2015, 10:07
Duane Michals came out from NYC to Humboldt to give a workshop...his words (approximately), "No wonder people do landscapes out here. Wherever one points the camera there is beauty."

Curious if Duane thought all the beauty was in the eye of the beholders, or in the landscape.

Probably the latter since we're talking Humboldt County after all!

But I'd enjoy hearing his reply.

David_Senesac
4-Sep-2015, 10:15
Well not much of interest in my "local neighborhood" as I live in the vast nauseating urban world known as Silicon Valley. A land of jobs where as a peon I can make enough money to buy optical tech toys and wheels to drive off to the many world class natural areas not far beyond. Same world Drew mentioned and totally spoiled to the point if I was stuck in some of the places other members on the board are living, my cameras would be collecting dust.

Heroique >>>"The top five are: Ventura County, Humboldt, Santa Barbara, Mendocino and Del Norte... Washington Post."

The Washington Post's list would not quite reflect those of actual landscape photographers. That list doesn't have a single Sierra Nevada county listed and my coastal county list would be different. Parsing up the state by county is in any case a flawed scheme because our county boundaries were drawn up for ancient political reasons that today look like the work of a couple of apes with crayons.

David's California world class scenic list of larger California regions:

Redwood Coast region between Trinidad Bay and Crescent City and watersheds inland.

Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino immediate coastlines from Point Reyes to Westport but little of those areas inland beyond just a few miles because most was mutilated by logging interests and later real estate companies with little still in the public domain.

Monterey coast from Monterey to Pismo Beach including the Santa Lucia Range inland.

Tuolumne and Merced River basins of the Sierra Nevada above 4,000 feet plus areas east of its crest.

San Joaquin River basin of the Sierra Nevada above 4,000 feet plus areas east of its crest.

Kings River basin of the Sierra Nevada above 4,000 feet plus areas east of its crest.

White Mountains across into Death Valley

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/2015_Trip_Chronicles/2015_Trip-Chronicles-0.html

Two23
6-Sep-2015, 19:11
The map is just dumb. It only reflects that person's preference for weather and mountain scenery. Rating the Northern Plains as "low" in scenery just shows he does not understand the beauty of the prairie. I was in the Tetons last month and was a bit bored with them. Anyway, as to how to once again begin seeing the opportunities of where you live, my solution was to begin shooting at night.



Kent in SD

RodinalDuchamp
13-Sep-2015, 06:13
Landscape is a vague word. There are good photos everywhere. Look at HWJ or Robert Adams. They lived in sprawling towns/cities and still managed to find impressive if not provocative photos.

Willie
13-Sep-2015, 07:02
If you can't make excellent images where you live, why do you think you will by going 1000 miles away?

Traveling to take the same old stuff that has been done already is a waste of time and effort. Develop your skills by learning to interpret the landscape and locations nearby so when you travel you will be more open to what is not 'same old- same old'.

Vaughn
13-Sep-2015, 09:15
If you can't make excellent images where you live, why do you think you will by going 1000 miles away?

Traveling to take the same old stuff that has been done already is a waste of time and effort. Develop your skills by learning to interpret the landscape and locations nearby so when you travel you will be more open to what is not 'same old- same old'.

True, but the reverse is also true. Working with a very different light and landscape is educational. I have found it to be of great help when coming back home. In my case, photographing in Death Valley has benefitted my work back home under the redwoods (about 700 miles apart). As an example, the below image, taken near home, was influenced by work I was doing in Death Valley (working with large areas of light and dark). I was not very successful in DV, but I think I was here.

Dora Creek Falls
11x14 Carbon Print

analoguey
13-Sep-2015, 13:30
Landscape is a vague word. There are good photos everywhere. Look at HWJ or Robert Adams. They lived in sprawling towns/cities and still managed to find impressive if not provocative photos.
+1
Although I have to look up HWJ and Robert Adams.
If one can't see beauty in the world that exists right around us, tough to see it elsewhere.