Sarah Howard Photography
When you know it’s right.
Posted on 11th December, 2020
There are times you go out to photograph and for some unexplained reason, things just don’t come together. It could be that the light isn’t quite right, or perhaps you can’t find a viewpoint that grabs you, or maybe it’s the subject matter or the sheer expanse of the scene before us. Often when presented with a big view, which looks wonderful to the human eye, we struggle to capture its beauty or majesty on camera sufficiently because its simply too big!
It’s easy to make ‘good’ photographs, but what about special ones; those that stand out from the crowd and capture the very essence of a place or the wonderful light on the landscape. How often do you feel that you have created such an image?
More importantly, how do we know when it’s right, that the image we have just created works? By this I mean that it is a success for you personally, as ultimately it’s ourselves who need to be happy with what we are producing. Well in answer, quite simply it’s a feeling, a feeling often brought about as the result of a period of waiting for the right light, working hard on getting it right, via composition, exposure and camera settings, and overall being very exacting of oneself. The image that is achieved easily is rarely the one that you will remember.
It’s a feeling of excitement and also one of immense satisfaction, when you can walk away knowing that you have given it your all and that hopefully you have ‘one in the bag’. To this day, one of my favourite images is the one above, captured early one morning in Tuscany. It's a well photographed scene, but that doesn't matter to me, and why should it? It transports me there in an instant, conjuring up wonderful memories of the experiences I've had there. What can be better than that?
Someone once said to me that they couldn’t take a photograph if the landscape didn’t ‘talk to them’. It may be that not having the most flattering light or weather conditions are to blame for that or perhaps it is simply that that we need to have an afinity with the landscape we seek to capture, for us to give it our best. However, sometimes we need to reach out to our subject as potential images are not always presented to us on a plate. I have made successful images in less than ideal conditions in the past, such as the one above in the Lake District, or when I have been taken out of my comfort zone, and found myself surprised at the results, but for many of us, the landscape does need to almost shout out to us, to stop us in our tracks and make us want to photograph it. This does not mean the scene or subject needs to be jaw droppingly beautiful, it could perhaps be simply majestic, or incredibly peaceful. At times it can literally grab us, pull us in and demand to be photographed, this is often when the light is at its most dramatic or complimentary, at others it might make more of a simple suggestion, a hint that perhaps it could be worthwhile picking up the camera. Either way, we need to leave it, feeling that we have done it justice.