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Top 10 Annoying Things to Say to a Landscape Photographer

DISCLAIMER: Please read the following post with the tone of heavy sarcasm and humor with which it was intended. None of these points are directed at any of my students, friends or colleagues. Anyone who knows me knows that I am far from cocky, arrogant or holier-than-thou. This post is meant for entertainment, not as a means to hold myself up on a pedestal. If you don't have a sense of humor, please don't read this post.

I thought I'd do something a little different today. Instead of new pictures, how-to's or tips, I wanted to post something I thought might be funny and/or entertaining for all you photographers out there. This is the Top 10 Annoying Things to Say to a Landscape Photographer. I cannot take credit for this idea as it was inspired by a post I saw at another great photography blog by Paul Burwell (check it out here).

Let's get it started!

10. I hate using a tripod. They're bulky and slow.

Yeah, I know. Sharp pictures suck. And being able to use any shutter speed I want is a real drag. If only I could just be patient while I’m out enjoying nature! Between answering my cell phone, texting my friend, updating my Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, listening to my iPod and trying to watch my portable TV, I just don’t have the time to set up my tripod for a sharp picture.

9. Have you heard of HDR?

Yeah! It’s hideous! I mean, excuse me, it’s awesome. HDR pictures look so unnatural, especially those halos around trees against the sky. Really vomit-inducing beautiful stuff. And boy do I love sitting behind the computer for 3 hours to create an image that looks way worse almost as good as it would have looked with 5 more minutes of work in the field with a simple filter and zero time at the computer. And HDR definitely creates awesome landscapes that far surpass any without HDR. Iconic photographers like Galen Rowell and Peter Lik have thoroughly proven that. What’s that? Neither of them use(d) HDR? Like ever? Oh...

8. You should do weddings. You'd make so much money!

My god... You, my friend, are one hell of a businessman! A real captain of industry! Really, you should be selling these ideas! I had no clue wedding photographers made a lot of money! And God knows that’s why I’m shooting landscapes — to make lots of money. I’ve been wondering when my huge payday as a landscape photographer was going to come in, but I shall wait no longer! Wedding photography industry, here I come! Thank you, sir, thank you for your sound advice.

7. Will you shoot my wedding?

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

6. I won't be able to get great pictures - I don't have any pro lenses yet.

Oh! That’s right! I forgot Canon and Nikon don’t put the “Awesome Picture” coating on their consumer lenses! They only put that on their pro lenses... Oh, well. I guess you’ll just have to start saving up.

5. How can I get great landscapes in the middle of the day?

Step 1: Get a 20”x30” piece of glass from your local hardware store
Step 2: Download any of these images by Galen Rowell and print out at 20x30
Step 3: Tape the print to the glass
Step 4: Have assistant/friend/monkey hold glass upright
Step 5: Stand 10 feet away and photograph it
Step 6: Crop out assistant/friend/monkey as necessary
Step 7: Enjoy smug satisfaction

4. What kind of camera do you have? It takes amazing pictures!

Yeah, it does. I often send it out to get some new shots while I stay home and watch reruns of Three’s Company. I actually have a new prototype from Canon with built-in legs and artificial intelligence they harvested from the brains of Ansel Adams and Albert Einstein. It’s awesome. Once these things hit the market, everyone will be an amazing photographer. I definitely couldn’t have gotten that picture with a lowly Rebel or D40. Definitely not. Those cameras take horrible pictures even though they have the exact same technology and sensors.

3. Split NDs are cool, but I have a Photoshop® plugin that does the same thing.

No you don’t and no it doesn’t. You have a crappy simulation of a split ND. That plugin darkens blown out pixels. A split ND darkens the light coming through your lens so that your sensor can actually record the sky correctly. It’s kind of like those cell phone towers disguised as trees. If you take a passing glance over it, you might not notice the difference, but really, who are they fooling? That fake tree is still hideous, tacky and it reeks of Photoshop (wait, scratch that last one).

2. Did you Photoshop® that?

No. No, I didn't.

1. Why aren't my landscapes as good as yours?

This is actually a very subtle insult if you look carefully (although not everyone who says it intends it to be that way) because it implies getting good landscapes is just a matter of following a checklist of items I could hand off to you and, thus, allow you to create the same images. I’ll give the response I always think but am too polite to say out loud.

“Gosh, I don’t know. You’ve been shooting how long? 6 months? Okay. And you only shoot in the middle of the day? Uh-huh, okay. That’s weird...there shouldn’t be that much difference, then. Well, I’m really going out on a limb here, but it might be my 10 years of experience or the fact that I only shoot under good light. Or it might be the fact that I travel further than a 5-mile radius around my house. Again...just going out on a limb.”

There you have it, the Top 10 Annoying Things to Say to a Landscape Photographer. If any of this offended you or made me sound like a pompous ass...lighten up, it's a joke 🙂 Thanks for reading!

“New” Pictures from the Archives

I was going through a backlog of images and found a batch of pictures I realized had never been posted on my blog. They were taken in January at Crystal Cove State Park. I like 'em, so I thought I'd pull them out of the archives and post them up for you guys. Especially with the ugly weather of summer setting in (ugly for photography, not sun-bathing), I figured it might be awhile before I have any new material for you.

These first shots are my favorite from that day. I went out into - literally IN to - a large tidepool and shot back towards the mainland where the beautiful warm light of the sunset was bathing the cliffs nicely. The reflections off the water were stunning. I liked how the scene looked more like a mountain landscape than it did a beach - almost like a serene lake with a sun-kissed mountain in the background.

I know, the following picture is a lot like the one up top. I couldn't decide which one to post over the other and I think they are different enough to have their own merits. I was really diggin' the textures and colors in the rocks above and below the water surface, so I worked with that in several of the shots.

The following picture, especially, really looked more like a mountain scene to me than a beach. It must be the rocks under the water's surface and the stick floating off to the left. But I think that's why I photographed the hell out of this area - I can get a little bored shooting out towards the ocean all the time (you guys outside California are probably shaking your heads in disgust at that comment). It was nice to get a unique view for a change.

Then I moved out to the beach to capture a more classic seascape with ocean, rock and sand. The sunset, as you can see, was gorgeous. Ah, how I miss the skies of winter and fall...

Thanks for stopping by!

Back to Torrey Pines

I went out to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve a couple of times last week to meet students for private photography lessons. The first day was gloomy and overcast, so I opted to take advantage of the diffused light for capturing the beautiful rocks beneath my feet. The second time out had some decent light, though. It was very high tide on both occasions - I thought we were going to get swept out to sea at one point the way the waves were almost making it to the cliffs!

Each time I was able to snap a few pictures myself while my student took their shots. Here's what I got...

If you've been thinking about private photography lessons, drop me a line for a price quote! Learn more about private lessons here!