I Love Nature And Photographing People Is Growing On Me

Last week I said that I wasn’t a photographer who photographed people. I made that statement even though all the photographs last week featured people. I am going to make the same statement this week to. And maybe I should make a caveat.

Or maybe this is an admission. I am a photographer who photographs people. I just don’t photograph people in the traditional sense many people might think of. Headshots and senior photos are not the type of photography I work on. The way I approach portraits they take a very different form than what many people would think of in a portrait session. I have nothing against these other forms of photographing people they are just not the types of photography that inspire me. But I always admire the beautiful work others create on a regular basis.

People exploring the landscape around Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Maine.

When I photograph people it is often not because that is what I set out to do. I probably set out to photograph something else and there just happened to be people there as well. A lot of my photography is scenic landscapes. And when I show up to a scenic location and there are other people there I try to think outside my normal box.

Incorporating people into nature

I used to be very hesitant and resistant to including other people in my nature photography. Now, if I find myself at a location that other people are enjoying as well I will usually click the shutter a few times while other people are in the frame along with whatever natural scene I am trying to capture.

Long exposure of people and their dogs at Little Hunters Beach at Acadia National Park.

I have come to think of people as having the potential to enhance the look and feel of a natural scene. This is especially the case if people are interacting with the scene. Being outside enjoying nature is what moves me, so why not include others doing the same.

People can provide a sense of perspective to an image. Showing how big or small another aspect of the photos is. How expansive the scene is compared to the people in it. People out hiking shows a scene that others can imagine themselves in. Maybe inspiring them to get out an enjoy nature too.

Hikers relaxing at the summit of Mount Marcy.

I have even become more drawn to including people in my photography in ways that may be less traditional. There are times when I am photographing landscapes and I am using a slow shutter speed. The slow shutter speed is used to help show movement, usually of water. So, now I incorporate that same slow shutter speed to show even more movement in the scene. The movement of people as well as the landscape.

I have even gotten to the point where I try to use this creative style in other ways. I may be in a location where I don’t always use a long shutter speed, but there are a lot of people there mingling around. So, if I can use a long shutter speed to capture the motion of the people moving through the scene it can create and interesting creative look.

A single hiker sits and admires the view from Mount Marcy.

The big challenge to incorporating moving people into a photograph is that I have no control of what those people are going to do. Where they will stop. What they may block in the scene that I would prefer to be visible. I can’t control nature but it is more or less predictable over time. So, when I use a slow shutter speed I have an idea of what the results will be.

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