There comes a time in every landscape photographer’s journey when they outgrow their local patch and feel the pull of more distance locations. While having local spots to visit is essential to take advantage of last-minute weather conditions, travelling further afield will take you to amazing places that expand both your portfolio and your creativity.
The world is full of famous locations, and there are some that are so popular you’re unlikely to ever have them to yourself at the optimum shooting time. The lone tree at Llyn Padarn in Llanberis, Wales, is one such location, and on a typical sunrise you can expect anywhere between four and 20 photographers to be lined up along the lakeshore. One reason for this could be simply that it’s a truly iconic sunrise location, but the fact that you can park just a 30-second walk away from the tree has to be a significant factor in its popularity.
Finding famous and indeed lesser-known locations is easier than ever before, thanks to the internet and such as, where many photographers tag the locations of their images. The simplest way to discover new locations is to perform an internet search; you’ll find blogs, outdoor/walking, which is a user-fed location-finding website.
Another option is to perform an image search based on a location or area, and while this may not necessarily show you great images it could still provide inspiration and links to useful websites.
As photography increases in popularity, there are more and more location guidebooks being published, covering much of the UK and further afield. The publisher and photographer Ellen Bowness produce the best location guidebooks available and provide an excellent starting point for exploring the UK with your camera.
It’s safe to say that any location that you can find in a book on a website or when using a search engine is popular to varying degrees. If you can find reference to a place, you can be almost sure that you’re not the first person to discover it. So if you’d prefer to discover more unique images the only way to do it is to simply go out for a walk in an area that’s known for the type of landscape you’re interested in capturing.
You could use famous spots as a starting point, certainly, but do aim to take yourself away from the beaten track. And don’t forget to look behind you as well – sometimes the best shot can be found looking the other way. Not to mention good old-fashioned luck should never be underestimated and word of mouth can be invaluable.
One of the easiest aspects of landscape photography is arguably finding locations before you head out thanks to guidebooks, maps and a ranges. But finding the location itself for the first time may not be quite as easy especially when you’re racing against the clock to be ready for sunrise or sunset.
Photography location guidebooks provide detailed directions and often basic maps to help you to find locations. But when it’s dark particularly before sunrise it can be difficult to identify key markers of the route and navigate successfully using the guide alone.