There is a lot of pressure out there (some of it self-imposed) for new photographers to define their photographic style. However, I don’t think that I’ve been behind the camera lens long enough to have developed a specific style. I feel like a freshman in college being asked what my major will be! To be honest, I’m drawn to many different types of photography. I’m beginning to explore macro photography, which, for me, embodies the line from the William Blake poem “To see a World in a grain of sand and Heaven in a wild flower.” Recent discussions on Google+ have introduced me to stock photography, which is something I never before considered doing. However, landscape photography holds my heart.
I’m perpetually drawn to photographing the grand landscape. I admire those photographers who hike for days on end into the backcountry to capture amazing images. Well one of the things I have come to accept is that I'm not one of those photographers! Recently, I explained to a good friend that I’m the type of person who likes to explore the paved road off the beaten path. I like national parks and state parks with their defined trails and more-than-primitive campgrounds. Car camping is just fine in my book! I enjoy traveling those scenic byways and backroads. I love a good road trip.
For the past several months I've been poring over images from the landscape photography community on Google+. There are so many great photographers out there to learn from and who are so willing to offer me words of support and helpful suggestions and feedback. One accomplished landscape photographer whom I follow is Jim Warthman. I highly recommend that you check out his photography at http://www.warthmanphotography.com. Just yesterday I exchanged posts with Jim about one of his photos of the Fisher Towers near Moab, Utah. The exchange reminded me that you don’t have to stray far from the beaten path to find something beautiful, interesting, intriguing, or compelling in this world. You can capture some amazing photographs right next to the road!
I took the following photo from the Green River Overlook in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Perhaps it’s not the most technically proficient photo, but it is one of my favorites. I also wish I could say that I hiked some big cliff wall to get to this vantage point. No. I simply drove up to the overlook and stepped out of my car. I’m amazed that such beauty is so very accessible to everyone. I realize that many others have taken pictures from this very same place, but I also know that they didn’t make the same photograph that I did. I brought my own perspective to the scene and saw the light differently than they did. I was the one to press the shutter release and capture that moment in time from my point of view.
The more I’ve reflected on how to define myself as a landscape photographer, the more I’ve realized that the key is simply to spend time photographing what I love and all will be revealed to me. So for now I’m just going to focus on taking great photographs while exploring the paved road off the beaten path!