Video: What makes a landscape photo trip successful?


posted Wednesday, July 13, 2022 at 4:00 PM EDT


A photography trip to a wonderful location, but no photos? This is almost what happened to landscape photographer Thomas Heaton during a recent camping trip. With camp set up in a beautiful location in Lake District National Park in northwest England, Heaton was surrounded by a lovely vista and peaceful scenes.

However, and many landscape photographers will relate to this, sometimes a scene looks amazing, but there's just not an amazing photo opportunity. Heaton said, "I've been looking around my campsite, this beautiful area looking for compositions and images. And I'm really struggling, really having a hard time, which is strange. It's bizarre, and if you're not a photographer, you probably won't get what I'm about to say. But you can be in the most awe-inspiring environment, yet not see an image anywhere." Just because something looks nice doesn't mean it will make for a nice image.

After hiking up to a summit, while soaking up the scenes on a nice summer's evening surrounded by stunning nature, Heaton remarked, "It's the right location – it's a beautiful location," but he struggled to see an image. Unfortunately, that's just the way it goes sometimes. Nonetheless, it looks like it was a great hike.

There was still hope for sunrise the next morning. Armed with a Fujifilm GFX 50R and Heaton's IR-modified Fujifilm X-T3, was he successful?

Using his GFX and a GF 32-64mm F4 R LM WR lens, Heaton sets up a lovely scene. To help add a bit of contrast and cut through some of the haze, Heaton used a circular polarizing filter. If you're a landscape photographer and you don't have a polarizing filter, you should consider buying one. You can learn more about using a CPL here and check out our "essential landscape photography gear" guide to learn more about accessories that can help improve your landscape photography.

Enjoying a cup of coffee and taking in the view, Heaton laments the previous day's frustrations while adding that the camping trip is as much about spending time outdoors and enjoying the experience as it is about capturing great photos. His positive attitude was rewarded on the hike out with a lovely infrared landscape shot with his modified X-T3. A nice bonus to what looked like an enjoyable, if not super productive, camping trip.

It hammers home an important point. Photography isn't just about the results. It's always great to capture amazing, portfolio-worthy images. That's a worthwhile goal. However, the journey to those images – even when they aren't realized – is often the most rewarding aspect of being a photographer.

To see more from Thomas Heaton, visit his website and YouTube channel. You can also follow Heaton on Instagram.

(Via Thomas Heaton