I would never call myself a landscape photographer, I suppose partially because Mr. Adams made it about arduous hikes to secluded vantage points by intrepid adventurers, and I’m just not a hiker (ask anyone). A portrait during a conversation in a cafe is where I’m more qualified, or capturing a meaningful moment in someone’s home or studio. I think also I was always disappointed with my attempts at landscape because everything ended up so much smaller than I remembered it being when I set my camera and make the exposure.
I’ve discovered, however, that there is endless information in an image if you look closely enough. In a portrait, this often means things to remove – nose hairs, pores and blemishes, dandruff, food particles. But in the landscape it means dew drops and a million leaves and teeny tiny automobiles with little people inside! Make a print big enough and the landscape is the real-life version of a model train layout. The moment the shutter clicks the story is being told forever.
This is my landscape photograph.
It is not a remarkable sunset with surreal colors and God’s rays of light. Those are easy. “Lease a phone and be there”, Mr. Capa might say today.
This unremarkable “landscape” is easily dismissed – but I see the verge of a storm, on the edge of the West, past the shore of a river, with a sliver of town, at the end of a day. Witnessed and photographed from a 22nd floor private office, framed (literally) behind window glass that reflects the interior lights, this view is protected and private, experienced in person by only a well-heeled elite (and the random artist guest). These seem precisely the criteria for the great landscape photograph per Mr. Adams and his practitioners. The hike, to my relief, included validated parking, two elevators, and a slightly tepid espresso.