Winter is my favourite time to be out chasing landscape photographs. The air is clear, the landscape is vibrant, frost, snow and mist can add wonderful atmosphere, and the summer crowds are hiding away in warmer places. This July I spent some time at Gibraltar Range NP, an old favourite, and New England NP, a new destination for me.

There can be quite a contrast between photographing an area you know well and one you're visiting for the first time. This was my 6th (or is that 7th?) visit to Gibraltar Range, so I already had a good feeling for the main hiking trails and points of interest. But rather than running out of ideas, photographically speaking, I've found that familiarity allows you to build on previous efforts. A review of previous images, and a good amount of armchair contemplation, gave me some clear ideas as to the images I wanted to bring home this time. Of course, it's not a good idea to be so set on your targets that you overlook what is happening around you - you need to be ready to respond to the prevailing light conditions, and be open to your emotional reactions to the location on the particular day. But familiarity can undoubtedlly allow you to delve a little deeper into the nature of the area you are photographing - I certainly feel that the images I brought home this time were in many ways more meaningful, perhaps more insightful, than a lot of my previous efforts.

When you visit New England NP for the first time, you can't help but be swept away by the grand mountain views and lush, green forests. The exhilaration of these new discoveries is intoxicating, and photographic ideas seem to be jumping out at you from every direction. The potential downside is that you can spend too much time photographing the obvious, rather than really searching for the essence of the landscape. I'm quite happy with a lot of the images I brought home, but I have to admit to spending too much time and effort taking multi-shot panoramas of the wide, wide views on offer. It's hard not to when such majestic scenes unfold in front of you, and it's certainly worth capturing a few MSPs for later stitching. But on reflection, the images I feel work best focussed on smaller parts of the landscape and were captured in a single frame - or maybe just 2 or 3 stitched frames - rather than the 5-12 image panoramas I loaded my memory cards with. These long, narrow, stitched images can often lack impact to my eyes - they rarely capture the expansive feeling of standing on the edge of a high escarpment. But that's okay - I have a couple of quite nice panoramas under my belt, and I'll approach things a little differently next visit!

So here are some of my favourite images from the past month. There is a short article and some more images from my visit to Anvil Rock in Gibraltar Range NP here, and another one about a morning spent at Wrights Lookout in New England NP, here.

Gibraltar Range National Park

New England National Park


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