There’s nothing better than being in nature, taking in all the vibes, deciding on the best camera position possible, and enjoying landscape photography. But what if there are 25 other photographers next to you, so it becomes difficult to move just 20 inches left or right without disturbing another photographer?
In my latest YouTube video, I take you with me on a road trip through beautiful Tuscany in Italy. It is a well-known area that has already been painted by the world’s greatest Renaissance artists. Today it is visited by landscape photographers from all over the world. This is not surprising, because the landscapes there are indescribably impressive.
You can try to find your own intimate spots there, but you depend on the parking possibilities if you don’t want to drive long distances to a place in the dark before sunrise. I went to Tuscany with my motorhome, which is much larger than a regular car, so the majority of parking options off the road didn’t work in many cases. That’s why I mainly focused on well-known photo spots, while keeping my eyes peeled for intimate locations as well.
Get lucky with the light
Interestingly enough, a lot of landscape photographers think it’s all about luck getting the right light and weather for a particular location and the luckiest photographer will come back with the best shot. But that’s just not the case. You can predict the weather using weather maps, which in my experience gives fantastic results. Of course, when you’re in an area for just a few days, you can also have bad luck getting bad weather for a specific comp. The trick is not to get fixated on single photo spots or even single compositions. I plan a few different locations that work for different weather and light conditions so that I am prepared for each case. And it’s important to consider that not only light and time make a masterpiece, but you also have to nail the composition.
The missing intimate connection
I must say; I like to work on my own intimate corners in landscape photography. There is a lot of exploration work needed beforehand, and sometimes I decide to go back weeks, months or even years later when the conditions are perfect. I often come back several times to understand the place and, above all, to establish an emotional connection with the place. The more you know about your subject, the more you can fall in love with it and the deeper you can work on a composition. To achieve this, I need to be focused and calm. The sad truth is that this is exactly what is missing in an iconic location. When you arrive at the photo spot and there are 20 or 30 other photographers around, talking and laughing and limiting you in your ability to walk around and try to get the best perspective possible, your results may not be not be of the quality you are used to.
But there is a simple trick to get rid of it, and to be honest, I don’t know why it isn’t done by the majority of landscape photographers who shoot in iconic locations. I visit the photo spot the day before or at least a few hours before when there are less people, where I can move where I want, where I can feel the landscape and the scene, where I maybe even see a story specific because I am absolutely focused on my photography. I can think about how the light will change at the time of my planned shot. And it’s very important to get back there early enough so that I can set myself up exactly where I’ve already decided that’s my best possible camera position. And so, when other photographers are frantically stumbling across the field, looking for the last possible camera positions, you are already prepared and just enjoy the rising sun and the bustle of eager photographers by your side.
The truth about iconic places is that these places are proven. The subjects are well known and copying a composition brings nothing new. Instead, frame your own composition, consider the light and weather, familiarize yourself with the scene, and arrive early to savor a fantastic photographic adventure.
To enjoy the whole adventure and get lots more landscape photography tips, watch the video above. And leave us a comment below on how you manage to get some fantastic photos in iconic locations.