The image of Lochan na h-Achlaisein Scotland above is a typical example of why I dislike “drive-by shooting”.
Every photographer knows the feeling; you’re driving along minding your own business when all of a sudden there’s an amazing view or weather condition. But no matter how spectacular the light, in my case jumping out of the car, grabbing my gear and running across a peat bog in the hope of getting a memorable image never seems to work out.
I carry a camera in one shape or form wherever I go, and in this instance was travelling up to the Isle of Skye so had a wide range of equipment along for the ride. Lochan na h-Achlaise is on the popular A82 via Glen Coe to Fort William, so it’s a familiar spot for many. Unfortunately it’s also an incredibly busy road where many drivers think speeds approaching 100mph are acceptable, there are precious few safe parking spots and most of those are a fair walk to the best spots.
As you can see, the image is technically acceptable and the light on the Black Mount is really interesting, but the composition is average as I was under-prepared and lacked the right equipment The Canon 5DS, 24-70mm lens, filters and tripod were all to hand, but I wasn’t wearing waterproof boots, only a thin coat and couldn’t find my gloves so my hands were dropping off. I also didn’t fancy wandering up and down the busy road in the hope of a better spot, even though I knew there was one as a few moments earlier we had driven past it.
My landscape photography - perhaps yours too - has to be more considered than this. I need to find a safe place to stop, wear appropriate gear and spend time searching for a good composition - or at least trying a few different locations. All the unnecessary pressures are then removed and I can focus on the image.
Does this mean I’ll ignore an opportunistic shot? Probably not, but I’ll not expect anything amazing as a result.