Inspiration and making the most of what's on your doorstep

I'll be honest. I often get jealous of some of the places photographers seem to have on their doorstep. Anyone that follows Mark Littlejohn or Nick Hanson will know what I mean. A daily dose of dramatic landscape photography from the Lakes or Skye is both inspiring, and depressing at the same time. 

I live in Bedfordshire. It has a lot going for it in many respects, but from a landscape photographers perspective, it's... difficult. It's a land locked county that's 2 hours from anywhere that would be considered part of the typical landscape photographers diet; coastlines, mountains, valleys etc... 

For the most part, I try to make the most of what's on offer and I tell myself that it's a great learning curve - if I can make Bedfordshire look good, just imagine what I can do when I get to the lake District :) 

However, there have been a couple of events recently that have broken me out of a state of apathy towards the landscape around me.

The first is some inspiring work by two photographers that I follow on Twitter, who have been making the most of 'limited' landscapes through creative photography techniques. 

The second is Ted Forbes' Photo Assignments from the Art of Photography. The first photo assignment is called variations, and is designed to stretch your creative thinking rather than simply following standard formulas for creating an image. I'm not sure whether I will follow all of the assignments, but what Ted talks about in the first one, definitely strikes a chord with me at the moment. 

Chris Dale is based in Nottingham, and we've spoken before about trying to find how out to make the most of our land locked counties, especially when time for travelling and staying away can be difficult. 

Chris' current ICM project called 'Mountains and Molehills' is a great way to maximise his local landscape. He's been able to create some wonderfully evocative landscape images, even though some (possibly all??) of the source material are golf courses!!

Paula Cooper is another photographer that has made the most of a single location to create a wonderful gallery of dynamic images, where colour also plays a key role. Paula's gallery of images was the inspiration for this article in fact.

One View - Lynford lake in Norfolk

So, what's the point of this post? Well, for me it's about getting out there and experimenting and exploring the local surroundings. Get past the initial view and get under its skin. Experiment with different techniques; DoF, long exposures, ICM, focal lengths etc... Getting it wrong is better than sitting at home on my arse and not trying at all surely?

If you've read to the end, then thank you for sticking with me! 


Paula Cooper on Twitter -
Chris Dale on Twitter -
The Art of Photography YouTube Channel -