While still living in Norway I wondered why there are so many nature & landscape photographers in the USA that incorporate roads in their shots.
After living here for 2+ years I have come to realize the big difference of the access to land in the US vs Norway. In Norway we have “Allemansretten” , while in the US the right of the landowner stands highest. Where I live you only risk getting prosecuted for trespassing.
So I have ended up taking shots with the road too…
Last week I was with my wife on our honeymoon in New Orleans. What a special and exciting place. Well first I didn’t think so, we went to the French Quarter and my first impression how dirty and hot it was there, and how small it was compared to what I thought it was. Well that was all to change, I now understand why people really love that place. I soon discovered there where many gems for the visual, the taste and cultural everywhere. It was quite the surprise.
Anyhow that isn’t what this blog post is about. It is about Inspirations. Being in New Orleans I got inspired, not by the insane sunsets I didn’t get to photograph because I just had basic equipment with me. My wife probably don’t think it was that, with a camera taking half our lunch tables. I didn’t bring tripod and I didn’t bring any filters… Well back to subject.
We stumbled upon the gallery of Photographer Frank Relle
. I really recommend everyone to check out his art. He is doing great stuff. And if I not just had bought a house I wouldn’t mind buying some of his art. Especially shooting landscapes myself knowing some of the work he has put into these pieces. Although my equipment with a DSLR is way easier than his full format camera.
Wandering his gallery I loved one of his quotes. “Landscape photography is about access. Access means trespassing”. Where I am from in Norway i can go where ever I want to shoot beautiful landscapes. Here in New York state where I live now, everything I would love to access has signs of trespassers will be prosecuted. I have been very tempted to take some shots regardless. Maybe one day when autumn comes one very early morning. We will see. His words resonated with me about landscapes in the USA. Difficult to make being all lawful there.
But what really inspired me was that all his shots where from New Orleans and the surrounding area. They where all portraying what makes that area special. For someone who lives in the area it is all normal. For someone that isn’t living there it gives a deep insight in all the special aspects of the area. I spoke with the curator of the gallery and she said that some of the locals didn’t really understand the art in the shots, as it was their neighborhood. At the same time Frank Relle has won dozen of awards for his photography.
My lesson from his photography is to look for what is special in my surroundings and shoot that. It may be totally normal for me here, and nothing special. For someone living somewhere else it may really touch them.
Not my best genere. I feel that if I take photos of people I invade their lives, even though the expectation of privacy should be rather slim out in the streets. As I also have a rather bulky and large camera rig I do not come off as a random tourist either, and I tend to get reactions; Some very positive and some negative.
Well enough excuses.
What street-photography is very useful for is to learn yourself to see interesting moments, and then to frame them. To be able to talk to people and make them help you creating the expression you want to.
In the one below it was a street musician who for the easter occasion had taken on ears.
When traveling to see other places of the world there are several things that are important to consider:
- Equipment, what should I bring
- What do I plan on photographing. This dictates or is being dictated by the equipment I bring.
- Bring a good rucksack for equipment, that also enables you to carry water, food and some clothing.
As I was going to visit the love of my life and she knows I enjoy being out in nature, hiking and taking landscapes I decided to specialise on that. For camera I brought my Canon 1D Mark IV with only Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L lens. I brought the tripod in the suitcase, as well as some filters. Lee Big Stopper, Little Stopper, a pack of gradient ND filters as well as a coloured sunset filter pack. In other words a light little package, that is specialised towards taking landscapes, but offers the versatility to take other photos, like generally holiday photos as well.
She took me to a Summit called the Sleeping Beauty. Not sure where the name comes from. It is at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. The Adirondacks is a massive mountain range north in NY state.
We had a great walk trough forrest terrain first at a dirt road, later on steep single track. I carried everything in a durable Norrøna 45L rucksack. I like this as it provides both good carry comfort and enough space to have with whatever needed. It has been a travel companion of me since I bought it in 96.
After close to two hour walk upwards being much alone in the forrest, seeing chip-monks and some different birds we came out on a clearing that was the summit. The view here was both surprising as well as fantastic. A tight layer of forrest in many different green colors, and hills upon hills as long as the eye could see.
As there where a few clouds I decided to go for a long time exposure both with the Lee Big Stopper and the Lee Graduate ND filter, chose the 0.9 version and took this shot at ISO 50 with aperture of f16 for 25 seconds.
Took a panorama with my iPhone to get the feel of the landscape as well.