They say adventure is what happens when all your planning goes out the window. This maxim held true for me when I was forced to scrap my well-laid plans and adapt after hiking five miles only to discover that a field of flowers I had planned to photograph at sunset was completely dead.
When it comes to landscape photography, one of the most important things I have learned as I have developed as an artist is not about lenses or camera settings, but rather about the need to slow down and be willing to adapt and take risks when things aren’t going as planned. As a professional outdoor photographer I have always operated in a world where my job and reputation is based on my ability to always bring home the goods, no matter how bad the conditions, so I have become a bit obsessive about pre-shoot planning with both paper maps and local contacts. While all this research helps me ‘know’ a location before I arrive, it does sometimes get in the way of free flowing creativity and adaptation.
I would guess that I am not the only photographer who struggles stepping away from a picture I was dreaming of making that isn’t working, and turning towards a picture that is more of a risk and could send me home empty handed. It isn’t easy to give up control and forget all the pre-planning to go with the flow. But the danger in continuing to push a photo that isn’t working is not only that you go home without any pictures, but you also...