Landscape photography is at the same time one of the easiest and most difficult subjects to approach. It is easy because landscapes are so familiar and accessible – they are all around us, and by now most of the obvious scenic views are catalogued tourist attractions with established viewpoints. In addition, landscapes are pretty permanent; they don’t move, and so all that is necessary is to get there with a camera. Finally, for the simplest shot, there are no extreme technical difficulties.
But despite this simplicity, there is an outstanding difference between the ordinary “postcard” views and the finest creative results of landscape photography. Many casually-conceived photographs of interesting views that stimulated the photographer turn out to be disappointing, failing to capture the essence of the scene. This is precisely because landscapes are such familiar, accessible subjects. Many photographers do not put a great deal of effort into a shot, yet to lift a landscape photograph out of the ordinary requires considerable perception and technique.
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