My First Year In Landscape Photography

My First Year In Landscape Photography

Wow! That first year has gone so fast. It’s been a great year to remember, starting as a complete beginner to being able to showcase a half decent image on social media and get a few likes. Now that my first year has come to an end I would like to share what started my landscape photography journey.

…..so let’s go back to November 2018

This was a time when I had no interest in photography, no interest in taking any sort of picture. I think my iPhone had around a hundred photos on the camera roll which had carried over from numerous phone updates. These consisted of the odd selfie with my little boy, a few birthday and christmas snaps and some pics with the wife. Although treasured images there was no real effort in taking these, no thought process involved, just take the phone out point and shoot…that was it.

What started my interest in landscape photography?

It all started when I decided to start to upload a few videos on YouTube of my little boy. My little boy has Edwards Syndrome which comes with many issues. I set up a channel to post videos so family members and friends could watch the things he got up to when they were not around. This led me to video editing, searching for video editors and tips and tricks. Obviously the platform to find this stuff out was YouTube.

Days went by and many video clicks later my YouTube started suggesting many videos, which included videography. Channels like Peter McKinnon started to pop up. Very interesting guy and fun to watch, which kickstarted my love for YouTube content. Over the coming weeks the odd photography videos started to pop up on my screen, specifically landscape photography. The likes of Nigel Danson, Thomas Heaton, Mads Peter Iversen and James Popsys started to fill my feed. These videos gave me a good mix of tips, fun and some epic scenery around the UK, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The more I watched the more I got pulled in.

As late December 2018 approached I was sat thinking about a camera we used to have which my wife bought around 5 years previous. It cost a fair bit at the time so I thought it’s got to be worth a look. Where was this camera, what did we do with it. A quick search and I had a Nikon Coolpix L820 bridge camera in my possession. Christmas soon came and a few Christmas shots were taken on the L820. Not going to lie the pictures were average.

Woodland sunrise

January saw us on a family long weekend at Darwin Forest. This would be the first time the L820 would be by my side for some outdoor photography, along with my new Manfrotto compact action tripod and new cheap camera backpack. Yeah I splashed out at at Curry’s. I wondered into the woods early one morning, and started snapping, trying to find compositions. I found a stream and snapped a few shots, saw some trees and snapped some more. Captured a shot of the sky. Looking back they were all pretty damn rubbish. But at the time I thought they were great. I couldn’t wait to get home get them off the memory card and into an editor.

A few days later I got home and signed up to adobe Lightroom photographers subscription. My first go at editing, I had no clue what I was doing but managed some basics. Posted a couple of these images to Instagram and got around 25 likes and a feature on Darwin Forests insta page. I was very very happy.

I soon realised that to get better editing results I needed to shoot RAW, but my Nikon L820 didn’t support that. As is usually the case with me I felt the need to go to the next level and purchase a DSLR even though I had only used the L820 properly once. Luckily it was the January sales so off I trotted to Curry’s again to purchase a Nikon D5300, this had the articulated screen, 18-55 kit lens, remote and 2 batteries all for £400. I got home to an annoyed wife who’s thoughts were that I had just blown £400 on a camera that I possibly would stick in a cupboard a month later never to see the light of day. How wrong was she haha.

Autumn River
Derelict barn photography at Snake Pass

My new D5300 had plenty of settings, had no clue how to use manual, shutter or aperture priority. So it was auto mode all the way. I soon figured out shutter and aperture priority, and I found myself using those modes for the next 6 months. My photography and editing had improved in the meantime, nothing special but I was happy with the results.

August 2019 arrived, I was loving going out in the Peak District, getting away from all life’s problems just me and my camera. Oh and I made a few new photography buddies along the way. After a few outings with these buddies I was encouraged to try manual mode. I made the decision to put it in manual and keep it there regardless of how my images were turning out. I soon started to grasp the concept of manual mode and slowly but surely my images started to turn out with less noise in those low light situations, I was so pleased.

From then till now I feel my images have improved. Yes I am not happy with every image I take but I am only a year into this hobby, I have so much more to learn, so many more places to visit. I have even sold my first print.

We now move on to the new year 2020, the start of my second year in photography. A few early features on Instagram by some pretty great accounts which makes me feel I am doing something right. I still have more to learn, plenty more content to consume.  I am still using the D5300 but a new Benro tripod joins the line up aswell as a Lowepro bag and peak design clip.

If your reading this and are new to landscape photography just remember, enjoy, consume content, get out and practice, the results will come.

Thanks for reading and have a great 2020