Why I take pictures (Inspiration part 2)

15th February 2017
The famous repost “because it's there” has been the cornerstone response for every human endeavour since it was first coined in 1923 when George Mallory was asked why he climbed mountains. Its simplicity speaks of a primal necessity to do ‘that’ thing which I can fully understand given the extremes I will go to in my search for the perfect picture. However I also believe that the best way to fully enjoy your activity is to be at one with your motivations for doing it. And if the best answer you can do is “because it's there”, then this is a bit of a cop out.

I have always said that photography is not a love about using a camera – it is about a love for your subject, in a similar way that a musician may like their guitar, but the real joy is the music. For me that joy is for nature and the great outdoors. I love being outside and exploring; be it a new location for the first time, or experiencing an old familiar location in a new way. However I am also a goal-driven individual – I need an objective to get me out of the house, and this is where is photography comes right in. It's a perfect fit, nature gives me my raison d’etre while photography gives me an outlet for exploring and sharing that passion.

These twin passions grew together. When I first picked up a camera, it was the obvious thing for me to head outdoors and photograph the trees and hills etc. Of course I didn’t know how to use it back then, but I rather enjoyed playing and doing it my own way. Learning by mistakes. Now I would give anything to be able to travel back in time and experience those same sights with my current photographic knowledge!

I still get a huge thrill when a shot works out well. I love photography which can transport you, like stepping through an open window. A really successful photograph should be as unobtrusive as that. I love to venture out and experience the extremes of nature, when it is at its most dramatic and exotic best, but it should still look natural. When I achieve this, I can stare at my photograph in wonder – wow, did I really managed to take that?

So this is the origin of the spark which kicks me out of a warm bed at 4:30 in the morning, and out onto the isolated and harsh moors in howling gale and sub zero temperatures an hour before sunrise – because the weather might just break at just the right time, and I certainly don’t want to miss that show! It is also what keeps me sane when I return home five hours later without having fired a single shot! And back out the next morning for more. Photography is certainly art, for we suffer for it!

Photography is a fulfilling interest to have because it forces you into a positive frame of mind. You need to look ahead and see the best potential in a view, and the weather too! Its a great shift in perspective and escape for the worries of the modern world. I have often cheekily described the best way to master landscape photography is to “go work in an office for a few years!”

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