on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Familiarity Breeds Content

Open one’s eyes to new images

Adam Pierzchala

Now retired, I have more time to enjoy being out with my camera looking for scenes and subjects that pique my interest, especially coastal, woodland and close-ups. Although I still have several rolls of 35mm and MF film in my freezer, I shoot almost exclusively digital now


The debate about pre-visualising images when going out on a shoot seems to be never-ending and we can probably accept that there are advantages to both sides: pre-visualisation can help to achieve images that the photographer wants, but having an open mind does leave us receptive to “suggestion”; let the subjects come to us as we wander without pre-conceived ideas.

When visiting a new location, some photographers like to conduct internet searches of what others have already done there. The choices then are (i) to emulate an appealing image made by someone else, either shooting the same scene or getting the same “look” albeit of another subject; this implies having similar if not identical light and going through similar steps in post-processing; (ii) deliberately eschewing what others have done and looking for something different, but still with an idea already in mind. Most probably that would have been stimulated by the earlier research.

Taking a different approach, we could just go there and react to what we find. This latter approach could end up frustrating as we scout for subjects and possibly struggle to make something meaningful in a limited timeframe. On the other hand, not having a specific image in mind does free us to serendipitously explore subjects we might otherwise have passed by. Additionally, the more experienced we are, the more likely it is that we can transfer much of the learning we’ve gained to the new location and make a satisfactory image. And with that experience, we are more likely to be more confident, relaxed and thus more receptive to inspiration.

This article is open to paid and unpaid subscribers so requires at least a free subscription to access. Please take a look at the subscribe page for more information.

On Landscape is part of Landscape Media Limited , a company registered in England and Wales . Registered Number: 07120795. Registered Office: 1, Clarke Hall Farm, Aberford Road, WF1 4AL. Midge Specs, midge net glasses from the Highlands.