By Adrian Zupp
At different times in this blog, Peter has shared his tips on shooting landscapes from a technical perspective. He’s also talked about equipment: the importance of a tripod, protective gear, etc. But one of the biggest things that has lifted Peter into the stratosphere of landscape photography is his aesthetic sensibility.
“You simply have to have an eye for beauty in nature,” he said. “Some people can look at a scene and not really see what’s there. Other people can tell that a location would make an awesome shot, but they don’t realize that a certain time of day is what would make it really incredible.”
As you probably recall, Peter is self-taught. So where did his eye for the “magic shot” come from? Was he born with it or did it develop over time?
“Both. I think you are born with these things up to a point. But there’s no doubt that over the years I’ve gotten better and better at sensing what’s going to be a special photograph. I think that instinct is still improving in me too. So my message to people reading this is work at it. Just like you’d work on different muscles in the gym. It’s a critical ingredient in landscape photography – or any photography, for that matter – and you can develop it in yourself.”
Peter continued. “This is why I tell people to really look at the stuff they’ve shot. Not just skim through it all and pick out the best. But really look at it on a good-sized monitor. Try and work out what it is that makes one scene better than another; and what makes a certain shot of that scene better than the rest. That’s how you develop. When I come back from a shoot where I’ve taken literally thousands of photographs, I spend days sifting through them, weighing up the pluses and minuses, working out what I did well and what I could do differently next time. And this helps me develop a better eye.”
The moral to the story? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but the way that eye sees beauty can be trained.