Landscape Photography

Why did you decide to jump into the photographic pool? What attracted you to it?

I always say that I started in photography for the wrong reasons. My little brother began to be passionate about it, I always came with some photography magazine to comment that good this or that. I attended him with curiosity but little more.

I think I must have been 28 years old when I changed from a job I didn’t like at all to one that promised a professional future more in keeping with what I liked. I traveled a lot of that time and I always told myself that I would need a decent camera to keep those memories. As a self-gift for the salary increase, I decided to give myself a digital SLR camera.

The truth is that as soon as I bought it, I spent a couple of days with her and there she stayed in a corner of my house getting dust. Until one day two things happened. First, a friend who had a very particular wedding wanted each of her friends to do something for her at the wedding, if you knew how to play the guitar because you could make the ceremony more enjoyable. Since I had the best camera of the group at the time, he asked me to take his photographs, and since I am an easy guy, I said yes. When I realized the mess I had gotten myself into, I started to read everything I could get my hands on about photography, from websites, books to video tutorials (I’ve always been more of a self-study shooter).

The second thing that happened is that a friend amateur to the photography, speaking of the subject, we decided to join us to one of the left photographic that were beginning to celebrate in Galicia and to take force in the zone. The first experience was quite good and I followed aimed at more remained, was a way to know places in my land that I did not know and people with whom to share a hobby.

In a matter of months something clicked in my head. Naturally I went to the landscape photography that most caught my attention (after the wedding I already knew that social photography was not for me). The hobby became an obsession, my free time was already to be completely dedicated to photography, learning every day a little more about it.

You say you’re not a professional photographer but your landscape photographs are really good. How many hours of dedication did it take to get those results?

Hours, I don’t know the truth. Since 2008 I spend most of my weekends and holidays basically going out to photograph or learning some photography. I don’t think I know everything. I think that’s part of the grace this has for me, I still think I have a lot to learn. It’s still a challenge that motivates me day after day.

If someone wants to learn this, from my point of view, and I can be very wrong, they should start by understanding the technique. And by understand I mean understand. Many times I see that people are obsessed with “learning” recipes: “What opening should I use for this type of photos?” “The photographer says that you always have to put the camera like this,” etc… for me that’s a mistake. Fortunately photography, and more so today with digital photography, allows us to easily experiment, to see for ourselves how something affects an image. And once we understand what something does, whether in the camera or later in computer processing, the technique ceases to be something annoying to be something that helps us express what we want to express with an image. And the more we learn about the technique, the more resources we will have in the field when it comes to taking pictures.

And the technique for me is the easy part. Maybe because I come from a career in science, physics, or making a living as a computer scientist. The most complicated part for me, and the part that I continually think I’m failing is the artistic part. Whenever I see images of photographers that I follow, or films, or paintings, I always analyze how that image works for me or not, how the elements are related in it, etc… It’s not about looking for rules, but about understanding how all the components of an image are, the light, the color, the objects/persons present in it… I think I can spend my whole life understanding this, and as I said before, that’s part of the charm of photography for me.

What do you think your blog offers to those who visit it? What does it have that doesn’t have the rest?

Today, the truth is that I don’t think it offers something as unique as when I started 6 years ago. And I think that’s pretty good. It’s much easier than before to solve any doubt you may have regarding photographic issues.

The only thing that might characterize me is that when I start a subject I try to cover all aspects as possible. Although that means things like that since the beginning of the year I’ve been carrying a series of articles about the Lightroom Library module that hasn’t finished yet… I cover the topics, but don’t expect me to do it quickly.

What is the purpose of your blog? What would you highlight about it?

Although it sounds paradoxical, the purpose of my blog is to learn myself. Even before photography, it was always clear to me that to really understand something the best way, at least for me, is to try to explain it to other people. On the one hand this forces you to study a subject in depth, and at least in my case, to think about any question you might ask me about it, even though many times people end up surprising me with related topics that I would never have thought of. For example, going back to the Lightroom Library theme, one might think that I really can learn little from this, but it is helping me to improve my workflow when working with my own images, which I personally consider to be far from being minimally efficient.

The most remarkable thing about it right now is that it is a very technical blog. It’s what I’m comfortable explaining with. If you are looking for how one composition can be stronger than the other, or how to transmit a scene you have in front of you with an image in the best possible way, it is not the blog you should come to. I don’t consider that I still have the necessary knowledge to feel comfortable talking about these topics. However, if you want to know how an autofocus system works, how to do something in Lightroom, etc… it’s probably the ideal source of information.

Why landscape photography? Why not some other kind?

Mainly because I love being in the middle of nature. Probably before photography, the main hobby I had before was hiking. Getting lost in a natural landscape was the quickest way for me to forget about the stress of everyday life (today it’s getting lost in a natural landscape with my camera… little has changed). With this I am not limiting my taste for other types of photography, I appreciate street photography, animal photography, etc … probably if I had the time and money I would also dedicate myself to it. The one that I will probably never do is social photography… although as I have said many times, it is never good to say that I will not drink from this water.

Anyway I recommend to anyone who is interested in a type of photography, to look at photography from other fields. It’s a very enriching way to evaluate what works or doesn’t work in an image.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting to photograph?

I suppose the most important thing for people just starting out is that they don’t become obsessed with the equipment. I always see the same thing, people the first thing when they see another photographer is to look to see what equipment they are wearing (I also sin from that…). But the team alone doesn’t take the photos, and because you have the X camera you won’t be able to take better photos. The compositions, knowing when to shoot, waiting for the light, etc… what a photograph does, are going to be independent (okay, some types of photography like sports or wild animals benefit from certain types of cameras or lenses, but many of these photographs in those areas that you find impressive, probably were taken with more limited cameras than you can buy cheaply today).

Another advice would be to try to learn/understand the technique as best as possible. Don’t be afraid to fail while we check how something of our equipment works. That will help us later on to make the equipment secondary in our head, which will allow us to focus on what is really important, the photograph itself. If we master our camera and lenses, when we are in those few minutes that we have that wonderful light both at sunset and sunrise (in the case that concerns me), we will be more focused on thinking which composition is really the best, rather than why the camera is not doing what I want. I’ve been photographing those moments for almost 10 years, which I think in landscape photography may not be as stressful as maybe in other disciplines (light usually lasts a few minutes… usually), but I always get nervous thinking if the frame I’m taking is the most interesting, if I should move or not to get a better picture, etc… fighting with our team at that time is the last thing we want.