Setting Your Expectations

Wet bark on a pine tree. Three images taken on an Olympus EM5. The images were shot for focus stacking using Helicon Focus.
Wet bark on a pine tree. Three images taken on an Olympus EM5. The images were shot for focus stacking using Helicon Focus.

Landscape Photography is much more difficult than most people realise. Sure you spend a lot of time out in the landscape but your also at the mercy of the same landscape. If the weather decides not to play ball, then there is nothing you can do about it. Or is there?

Part of the problem I at least appear to suffer from (I suspect I’m not alone) is unrealistic expectations. Each time I head out into the landscape I have my mind set on shooting the large open landscape bathed in beautiful light. Living in the UK, these conditions probably exist for only a small proportion of the year and only at certain times of day.

The odds are that I won’t be in the right location at the right time. Most of the time the conditions are quite poor (especially in winter) and this can be depressing. This last weekend though I decided to change this and set out with a friend in the knowledge that the weather was going to be dreadful. But guess what, we had a great time and I managed a couple of shots that I quite like.

The difference was that I expected the weather to be poor so set out with the mind-set that I was going to shoot in bad weather and that the light would be poor. I also chose the equipment that would perform well in these conditions. Rather than trying to fight with the Sony A7r I kept to a pocket camera and the Olympus EM5.

The lesson for me is that my expectations have quite a large bearing on how successful I view a day’s photography and probably, how much I try.

15 thoughts on “Setting Your Expectations

  1. My little dog stands guard at our gate looking out into the long grass – he knows there are cats out there, he just can’t see them. I try the same approach when in the countryside – there are definitely some decent shot out there somewhere, I just have to find them.

  2. My biggest problem is seeing amazing opportunities and never taking advantage of them. I keep my Sony a6000 mounted with a Ziess 16-70 in my works van so its all ready to grab and shot. The main problem I have is driving and thinking “Now that could be an amazing image” and by the time the brain has engaged it’s to late and I’ve driven way passed…. This needs to change!!!!

    1. Hahaha, recognizable, except I have this when my boyfriend is driving and I’m afraid to ask him to drive into the fields all of a sudden.

  3. A long as you don’t view a whole day by how well your photos turned out… This does happen to me at times, like recently when I came back with rubbish after plowing through mud for 2,5 hours…
    Why do you fight with that Sony?

    1. That doesn’t sound like much fun. As for the Sony I love using it. But the em5 is easier. Then again I also love my X pan which is even heavier and not as practical as either of the others. Guess love is blind.

  4. Probably the best way to avoid unrealistic expectations is to stop reading all the magazines, books, articles etc which proclaim that the only time to take photos is during golden / blue hours in areas with spectacular scenery.

    Lets face it – there are only so many days when autumn foliage (waterfall, sand dune, spring flower bloom etc etc) is at its best – getting that to coincide with the days when the weather will give you a ‘golden hour’ and the actual amount of days you can get out during that hour and you are really setting yourself up for major disappointment.

    Minimise disappointment – Take what you can, when you can and make the best of it.

    1. I think that’s excellent advice. I have up reading most magazines with the exception of on landscape. Most of them trot out the same poor advice time and time again. Sometimes even poor or wrong information.

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