The light is amazing. There are dozens of compositions waiting out there. But where are you? Sitting in your office, working eagerly for your boss or for your clients? I found a solution to combine my job with my landscape photography, to photograph wherever and whenever I want.
In my latest video on YouTube, I showed you how I got more time for landscape photography by changing my lifestyle. I often hear people saying that they would like to have as much time for photography as I have. But the thing is: I work seven days a week from early in the morning to late in the evening, often even during the night. I have my own company, which requires much more than just 40 hours a week, and besides that, I have my landscape photography business with selling prints and giving workshops and my YouTube channel. When we break it down, I don’t have time for landscape photography, actually. But I found a way that works for me, even multiple times a week.
Using the Home Advantage
For those who live close to places that offer possibilities for landscape photography, the first step is done quite easily. I live in the middle of Austria, surrounded by mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and woodland. Most photo locations in my area are within 20 to 60 minutes from me, but the closest one is my local woodland, around 100 yards from my house. It is not the most spectacular forest in the world; it is quite small and doesn’t look like much. But over the years, I found quite a lot of strong compositions in there. I know it like the back of my hand, as I continuously go there for walks without thinking about photography. So, if you live close to nature, go there as often as possible.
I try to be out in nature nearly every day, not for photography only, just to get connected to Mother Nature and to get an overview of how nature is changing. In this way, I see if specific flowers are already blooming, the foliage of the trees is green, or how the autumn colors are changing. For the case that I don’t have much time, I just go for a 10- or 15-minute walk, maybe straight after lunch or dinner. Or I enjoy my lunch on a bank in the forest. I get so many ideas for photography when I was doing such shorter walks. Bigger hikes with friends can help to get connected to an area. And then, when the weather and light situation are great, I return in the early morning for photography, shortly before I start to work in my office, or I photograph straight after office work in the evening.
Changing Your Lifestyle
If you don’t live close to nature, you might think you have bad luck. Others have more luck because they live close to nature, right? You could think about moving to a place that offers you more possibilities for landscape photography, of course. This is surely not the easiest thing in the world, as we have commitments like our job and friends.
I live in a place like that, and I have to say, the possibilities for landscape photography are phenomenal. But you want to travel to different places, of course. My problem was that I felt quite chained to my own company for more than 20 years. I have employees who can cover different parts, but when we break it down, I need to be reachable for my clients each day. This didn’t offer me the possibility to travel to amazing places for multiple weeks. But meanwhile, I found a solution.
During the pandemic, I started to work from home, like most office workers. I found out that I don’t need to be physically in my office for working. And then I thought: when I can work from home, I can also work from each point in the world, actually. So, I bought a camper van, and the plan now is to travel to outstanding places, work in my van, explore photo spots, and enjoy landscape photography. I am reachable by my clients most of the time, but I can do what I love so much: landscape photography.
In the above-linked video, I mention exactly which requirements I had to fulfill to live this new lifestyle: the van with all the necessary functions and devices to cover my requirements for working, but also for landscape photography. I didn’t move totally to my van. I just use it as a vehicle and base camp for longer photography trips. But I also work there for my company, and I process images and cut my YouTube videos.
And in the case that you should think a lifestyle like that would not be possible for you: I also didn’t think it was possible for me. I needed the pandemic with the home office to understand that it was possible. And if you don’t have your own company like me, just talk with your boss to see if you could do home office from time to time. Leave us a comment about how often your current life situation allows you to be out for nature photography each week or month and how often you would like to be out for photography.
Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me that this kind of lifestyle risks destroying the same beautiful vistas you are setting out to photograph. Doesn’t running your office out of the van consume an awful lot of fuel? Or are you running things off of solar?
Hi Adam, landscape photography is active nature protection. Landscape photographers experience a tight connection to nature, we appreciate nature, and we understand why it is worth protecting it. This is also, why I tend to come home with more trash than I have produced by myself. I always have a smaller garbage bag in my backpack and when I see trash lying around, I take it with me - the trash of people who haven't understood.
I take the photographs for myself, on the one hand. But I also sell them on my webshop, for people who love looking at nature scenes. When they look at awesome nature scenes every day, it makes them appreciate nature more. But also their friends and visitors, who see the images hanging on their walls, start to understand, how important it is to care about our planet. The mindset is so important here, on my opinion.
The electricity in my van is produced by photovoltaics, just the driving consumes Diesel, as there don't exist alternatives at the moment. But I don't drive every day, I stay at places. Yes, I have to travel to places, but this is just a small price I have to pay, compared to the impact I achieve. So, according to your question if you have overseen anything: Landscape photography is active nature protection.
Thanks for the thoughtful response! I know that landscape photography cultivates an appreciation of nature, but that doesn't mean that you are inherently protecting nature. There are any number of nature-based hobbies (or ways people conduct themselves while enjoying nature!) that destroy nature, and I had worried that this lifestyle of landscape photography risked doing just that. Thank you for sharing the ways -- from small to great -- that you're trying to minimize your negative impact on the land!