Name: Collyn Rankin
Background in Photography
My interest in photography started as a secondary part of building web sites. I would do product photography for the websites. I loved the photography so much I transitioned it into a more serious interest. I am currently trying to get into a few local galleries. Ideally I could eventually make a living out of being a professional photographer.
How do you find your scenes?
It seems like 90% of landscape photography is either of towering mountains, serene coasts, or otherwise exotic locale. I won’t deny these are great spots to photograph, but photography takes practice. Unless you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel constantly, you’ll never have enough practice to advance your photography skills. That is, if you limit yourself to the stereotypical landscape spot.
I spend a lot of time just driving around my local area looking for locations. I am mainly looking for something that could provide interest, a path, a building, a weird tree, lake, etc. The trick is to imagine what the seen would look like at other times or with different weather. One needs to think of what mood the point of interest could convey. Consider colors and textures or even movement. Once I find a place, I take note under what circumstances it would look the best. I sometimes take some pictures for reference. When taking reference photos I use a geo-tagging app called “Geotag Photos” on android to keep track of locations. Once I find a spot I add it to a list I keep. The list includes locations of sunrise, sunset, and stormy weather spots. Since the spots are local it doesn’t take much time to get there. You will be much more likely to capture the perfect moment at a local spot than on a one week vacation or someplace hours away.
Once the conditions are right I grab my bag (it’s always packed, or with me) and tripod and head out to get the “gallery shot.” Once there, I look for how I want it framed. I often use clouds or other elements as leading lines. I also look to see if there is any “ugliness” I want to frame out, things such as telephone poles, houses, signs. The rest is all settings etc., that I’m not going to go over.
In short its all about timing. The place might not be extraordinary but the time should be. Time is the advantage you have when shooting local; being in the “right place at the right time”, having time to experiment, time to figure things out beforehand. So always have you camera on hand and a plan of action in case the perfect moment comes up.