I have always enjoyed a challenge. I find landscape photography challenging and frustrating at times, but also very rewarding. I think many people think that landscape photography is quite simple – just find a location or subject of interest, set up the tripod and shoot. It is possible to get a good picture by doing these basic steps and sometimes a great image, but it’s almost impossible to consistently get great results in this way. In order to make a great landscape photograph a lot has to come together. The photographer has to research and scout locations, physically get to the locations which sometimes involves hiking to the top of a mountain or driving to the edges of the country, or both. Once there creative and compositional decisions have to be made about what to include in the frame in a way that highlights the beauty of the place/subject or expresses a certain emotion or feeling. And then there’s the weather. Quite often I have travelled 4-5 hours and have come home completely empty-handed due to the weather and this is when the feeling of frustration enters. I have visited some places 3-4 times without taking a single photograph. But it is all worth it for me when everything does comes together and I am there to witness a beautiful stream running through vibrant autumn leaves or a dramatic sunrise from a mountaintop.
How do you find locations?
I have a couple of location books written by Korean photographers, but these days mostly from Facebook. A majority (83%) of my Facebook friends are photographers in Korea. When photographers upload pictures they often include the location. If not it will come up in a comment below or I will just ask them directly. When I organize a trip I always try to make at least one backup plan in case of weather problems or a closed road, and additionally I put together a list of other places in the area to visit and shoot.
My filter collection. I can’t single out one because I love them all. Over time I have put less emphasis on lenses. I used to have the complete set of Nikon’s professional zoom lenses, aka the Holy Trinity, but have traded them all in for smaller, optically simpler primes which enabled me to carry around more filters. I know many photographers have moved away from doing a lot of filter work in favor of post-processing, but in most cases I prefer the more natural look.
What to expect next?
I will continue to try to improve and evolve as a photographer. I am always trying to incorporate new techniques such as infrared, filter combinations, and film photography to keep the creative juices flowing.
Oh, there are tons of places. I guess first on the list would be Jejudo. It has been over 10 years since I visited the island and that was well before I knew the first thing about photography. I will make it there soon!