Disappointment in Landscape Photography

There are many challenges to overcome in landscape photography. While everyone encounters their own obstacles to overcome during their photographic journeys. These are some of what I have found to cause the greatest disappointments in my own photography.

  • understanding photography basics and dynamic range challenges

While we all start out in photography learning how to operate a camera, gaining a full grasp of how a camera interprets or is able to capture the dynamic range of a scene is not easy. Our eyes see 2-3x the amount of dynamic range a camera can which means you can easily look at something that would take 2-3 bracketed shots to properly expose and then blend them together in post production and instead just take a single image.

I have many ruined images that have blown highlights or shadows because I forgot to check. Using a histogram is the best way to avoid issues with things being too dark or bright. The meter doesn’t always provide the best information though! Cross check everything before moving on or you risk not getting enough shots for a final image to be put together later.

  • composition with a scene you cannot change

Honestly, nobody in landscape photography that applies a proper amount of ethics in the field should be moving objects or major elements in a scene. There are some things that you can get away with like small broken twigs, sand dollars on a beach, and most certainly litter (if you pack it out as well). We should not be moving large logs, living things, or other vital parts of the ecosystem that are there for a reason. 

It doesn’t change that the image you are taking would be exponentially better if you were able to edit it! The only real fixes are to accept it as reality or to use photoshop (with moderation, don’t go too crazy here). The best policy is honesty, and honesty can be a bit unfortunate for those of us who are honest.

  • light moving rapidly that you cannot control and time of day windows

I am not the fastest hiker, and my timing is not always as punctual as it should be on photography adventures. During the summer the sun moves really quickly towards the horizon and sometimes I find the right composition about 2 minutes too late! Planning and proper preparations are typically a solution to this issue, but it doesn’t always work out on a spontaneous photography adventure. Naturally, a lack of preparedness along with the inability to control celestial bodies is disappointing.

  • weather conditions for the scene and camera

We all love to complain about the weather! It is easily the most universal pastime. Perhaps it is what will bring all of the cultures of the world together. Anyways, it does not pan out most times that I have a camera with me and an image in mind to take. The only solution at this point when the weather isn’t ideal is to settle on a different type of image that is more attuned to the conditions or not taking any images at all. Not ideal and very regrettable.

  • dangers of being out in nature on your own

Sometimes you are out in the field and while minding your own business on your own practicing photography when a mountain lion decides you look like dinner. Well, you aren’t going to know any wiser while focused on the back of the camera! The unfortunate events proceed to be very disappointing as a hopeless photographer.


Ok, while some of these examples might be a bit ridiculous and extreme I think it is a good idea to be mindful of our own mindsets in regards to photography. There are things that are in our own control and there are things that exist outside of that. Control what you can control and let it go if otherwise. Stop worrying about what has/can go wrong and try to make the best of what is reality.