Every week we are going to get the Distinctions Chairs to share their top tips, tricks and best kit with us. This week we speak to Joe Cornish HonFRPS, Distinctions Landscape Panel Chair:
Okay, Tips first, for the budding landscape photographer:
1. The Great Outdoors
Who are you? Ask yourself if you love being outside and relish the challenges of the cold, the heat, the wind, the rain, the snow (if you are lucky). All these are visited on the landscape photographer, budding or experienced, so your personality needs to fit the Resilient and Patient mould. Being comfortable in your own company, alone for long periods also helps. Do you find solace and inspiration in the outdoors? You will need this to keep you going through the tough times.
2. Strength and Endurance
Work on your strength and endurance, stability and agility – physical and mental. It’s not a competitive sport, but your safety and ability to cope under adverse conditions depend on being able to look after yourself and your equipment. Otherwise you cannot safely venture that far from the car.
3. Planning and Preparation
Just as important is the ability to plan and prepare sensibly, especially for all day shoots. Food, water, protective clothing may be needed. Possibly climbing equipment. Certainly a map and the ability to read it. Wise decision-making to ensure safe climbs and descents, sometimes in the dark. Do you carry a torch? Knowing tide times, sunset times, moonrise times. No landscape photographer should aim to appear on the statistics of our Mountain Rescue volunteers.
4. Working locally
Work locally to develop your skills and creativity. Landscape photography is a form of practice and like any practice, repetition is essential to developing and expanding your technical and creative range. It also helps you appreciate and get to know your neighbourhood. If you do travel further afield these skills are your foundation and security.
5. Know your camera
Camera gear and accessories do matter, because you should aim to arrive at the point where you know it so well you can forget about it as you use it. Most of the camera industry’s trends are relatively trivial. Find a camera you love. Don't change it until you have to, and keep using it. It doesn’t matter what it is; what matters is that you enjoy using it.
As you can imagine from the above, I love my camera gear! However, my favourite bit of kit, as of this moment is probably my Gitzo GT 3543 XLS tripod which is fitted with an Arca Swiss Cube geared head. All told it’s an expensive piece of kit, but I am always excited to have it with me because it helps creatively. The exceptional height of the tripod means I can try perspectives I’d formerly have had to by-pass; and the head is so refined and precise that it makes composing a real pleasure
For the Last year I have been wading my way slowly through Sally Mann, A thousand crossings. It’s a vast illustrated biography of the iconic contemporary American photographic artist. Beautiful and challenging in equal measure, it has forced me to question my own ideas and practice as a photographer.
For your chance to win a signed print from Joe Cornish HonFRPS, Sign up to the RPS Distinctions Facebook page