Photography, Psychology, Society

The Patience of the Landscape Photographer

English: Ashness Bridge, Borrowdale, English L...

I’m in the English Lake District and I’m here to get away from work and relax but also to take some more landscape photos. As any good landscape photographer will tell you patience is something that is as important as a neutral density grey grad filter.  Sometimes you have to revisit the same spot day-in-day-out, or even week-in-week-out until the weather and lighting are just right as a landscape’s appearance can be completely altered by cloud, the angle of the sunlight and the time of year.

Patience is something that can be lacking these days as I witnessed yesterday when walking past a place called Ashness Bridge.  As I approached the bridge, coming down from the fell above, I saw a small group of men stood in the flowing stream beneath the bridge, expensive cameras on tripods, the aforementioned neutral density grey grads in place (the sky was a combination of sunshine and cloud so the grad helps to avoid underexposing the foreground or overexposing the sky).

One of the group wanted a “picture-perfect” image of the apparently famous bridge and was becoming increasingly annoyed at the other tourists and car drivers that were intruding into his shot and rather than be patient and wait he began gesticulating at a car driver, shouting at walkers and generally being a bit of a tit to put it politely.

The attitude of “I’ve got an expensive camera here, I’m a real photographer, get out of my way” was evident and it is one that gives photographers a bad name – as pretentious and inconsiderate.  No doubt the group had to press on to the next photo opportunity but this is no excuse, if they had prepared properly then all they would need to do was wait patiently for the right moment and fire the shutter, as I did later after they had gone.  I don’t mind having people in my photos as they add scale and context but if I’d waited a few seconds I could have taken a shot free of humanity altogether. I had considered pointing my own camera at the camera club when the man had started shouting, perhaps shouting back “could you get out of my way too please, I want a shot of those trees” but I didn’t as I felt the irony would have been lost on them.

As for my own patience, well put it this way I’ve waited one year, two weeks and three days approximately to reshoot two images I took last year on the summit of Walla Crag near Keswick that last year I messed up due to forgetting my neutral density grey grad filter.

This year I got the shots and I now only have to tweak them a bit when I return home before uploading them to Flickr.