I’ve posted quite a bit lately on inspiration and how to go about finding it. Lately I have been finding it in the work of others. Landscape photographers mostly. This can be a useful way to gather ideas for future shoots. Of course there is always the chance that by studying other photographer’s work you could unwittingly copy their ideas. But looking at an image and trying to reverse engineer how it was shot is also a great way to lean a new technique. So in the name of furthering my own photo making skills, I unashamedly admire and study the work of other photographers.
So here are a few that have been inspiring me recently.
Mike Leonard’s panoramic images of iconic Australian scenes beautifully show the variety of it’s landscape. Mike photographs many locations that I visit regularly and are dear to me, much more eloquently than I ever could, but that is something that drives me to return to these places time and time again.
Ben Pipe is a UK travel photographer with a wonderful eye for catching the moment. His images burst with life.
Evgeni Dinev’s work shows an extraordinary patience to wait for just the right moment and great respect for the landscapes he photographs.
Beautiful images of South African landscapes show Hougaard Malan’s connection to his homeland.
This image doesn’t have much to do with this post, other than it was shot just a few kilometers from my house.
Because we are essentially visual people who look for inspiration in the things that are around us. When these things are more familiar, inspiration becomes harder to find. This is where we tend to get a bit lazy and lose enthusiasm for making pictures. Often the solution for this is to change your surroundings, giving the jolt needed to start seeing again. It’s a heightened state of awareness that we tend to go into when discovering something new.
Certainly travel is an excellent motivator to open our eyes, but it’s not always necessary or possible to pack our bags and set off for weeks or months in search of new inspiration. Often learning to look at what is around you in a new way is all that is needed to get the creativity flowing again.
I live in Melbourne. One of the largest cities in the country and well known for its parks and gardens, cafe culture and unique architecture. A city hundreds and thousands of people travel from around the world to. And many of them travel to photograph. So if all these people can find something worthwhile here to photograph, why can’t I?
Whenever I find myself in a visual slump, I like to work through it by either looking at publications like tourist guides and local papers that use imagery of Melbourne to find parts of the city that I woudn’t usually consider photographing, and then trying to capture it in my own way. Another option is to simply wander the streets until something leaps out begging me to shoot it. Often, in fact more often than not, the pictures I make on these occasions end up in the recycle bin, however that isn’t important. In these cases its the act of making the photos that is important rather than their end use. If they also turn out to be marketable then that’s a bonus.
It is usually just that one half decent image that sparks enthusiasm and gets the ball rolling again. After that ideas tend to flow.
Been on a bit of a landscape binge lately. Like many photographers landscapes (or seascapes as is the case here) were one of the first subjects I ever photographed and are still one of the things I love photographing the most. It’s a kind of therapy. The nature of landscape photography forces you to slow down and be patient, waiting for just the right light and think through how to set up your shot. It’s a great change from the rapid pace of street photography where your subjects are generally moving and “the moment” happens and is gone in the blink of an eye. In landscape photography, “the moment” tends to happen much slower. It’s the ten minutes it takes for the sun to break through the clouds, or the moon to rise. Often you are the only person there and this can make you feel like the piece of land or beach or lake you are photographing truly belongs to you. (Did I go a bit overboard there? Yeah, I thought so too)
I was all set to go on a landscape photography weekend last week, when our dog Rosie, in a display of exquisite timing, decided to escape the yard and explore the neighbourhood. She must have eaten something she shouldn’t have because for the next few days she lost her appetite and wasn’t her usual-bouncing-off-the-wall self so we had to take her to the emergency vet, meaning we had to cancel our weekend away.
Not to be discouraged, I decided to visit some of my favourite locations, Swan Bay and Point Lonsdale. These are places where I learned and practiced many photographic skills and techniques and so have fond memories of. These are a few images from the shoot. Comparing these to early images from these locations It is satisfying to see I have grown somewhat in skill level. It also reinforced the advantage of knowing your location. I had an idea of where the sun or the moon would rise and what kind of light they would cast when they did, so I could set up a shot accordingly. If I didn’t already know these locations, I may have needed to come back several times before getting the shots I really wanted. The best landscape photographers will visit a location many times before finally making the image they have envisioned. So its important not to be discouraged if first results are a little less spectacular than hoped for. Possibly the greatest skill a landscape photographer can have is patience.
PS. Little Rosie is now fully recovered and is wondering what all the fuss was about.
For a modern, fast moving metropolos with an abundance of shopping malls and supermarkets, the people of Hong Kong still shop predominantly at its many street markets. Throughout the city, narrow streets are lined with stalls where you can purchase anything and everything from cheap clothing, to pets to fresh fruit and vegetables to trinkets and souvenirs and flowers and where any marked prices are merely a suggestion and a starting point for negotiations.
One of the best known markets are Temple Street Night Market (also kown as the men’s market) where you can find all manner of souvenirs, cheap clothing, pirated CD’s and outdoor resteraunts. You can also have your fortune read by one of the many street side fortune tellers.
Tung Choi Street Market (the ladies market) offers more cheap clothing and accessories and is crammed with pushy sales people and suffocating crowds, giving a true market experience.
Other markets include the Goldfish market, a street lined with shops selling fish, tanks and all the accessories. Some of the more exotic and rarer fish can fetch some exorbitant prices. Yuen Po Street Bird Market is a meeting place for people (mostly old men) to gather and chat and air their birds who have long been a favoured pet of the Chinese. The market is lined with cages of birds and the noises and smells are not for the faint hearted.
Amongst these, each neighbourhood has its own wet market where people come to buy their fresh meat, fruit and vegetables. Due to the density of living in Hong Kong, there is not much room for storing and refridgerating food, so people tend to go each day to the market and buy only what they need.
Browse any of Hong Kong’s neighbourhoods and you will be sure to come across one or more of these street markets which give a unique insight into the way life is lived here.