Landscape photography is all about extraordinary conditions


Can you spot my tripod and camera?


Extraordinary conditions make otherwise ordinary and dull places look extraordinarily beautiful

I'd been waiting for a day like this the whole winter. Indiana, or to be more accurate, Michiana, has a lot of potential when it comes to simple, minimalistic landscape images (I'm not sure if there have been or there are any photographers taking this kind of images around here, please let me know if you know of any!).

There are plenty of trees and other elements like hay, horses, frozen creeks, swamps, farms and industrial buildings in vast, flat plains.

On a regular day though, they look like ordinary and boring things that everyone would overlook.

But add extraordinary conditions, and you can make some amazing images.

Color would have really worked here too

This last Thursday, I woke up at 5 in the morning and drove through an unbelievably thick fog all the way to Michigan City, where Indiana meets one the Great Lakes: Lake Michigan.

It wasn't by accident though: I'd known about those conditions for days and I was hoping the forecast wouldn't change while I was anxiously waiting for that day to come.

But with plenty of snow on the ground and temperatures raising to 40F (well above freezing), I knew fog was coming. Michigan City was my choice, since it has a bit of everything you can find around here: plains not far from the city, parks in town, and of course, the Indiana Dunes and the lake.

Rain and fog

There was no one around, but as the fog cleared and I was getting ready to leave, the crowds started to arrive at the beach. That's when I knew I had gotten something unique.

Even when you are at the right place under the right conditions, you still need a bit of luck. But I can't stress enough how important is to start with a very good foundation: luck is for those who work hard.

I struggled a lot that day. It rained and the camera kept getting wet. I fell down a dune and dropped the camera, it took me 2 hours to clean all the sand and snow / ice. It took a lot of effort and hard work, but I shot for hours and ended up with 7 rolls of 120 film that I'm hoping contain some of my best shots to date.

I said it before and I'll say it again: you don't need to go to extraordinary places, they can look rather ordinary under normal, boring conditions. Instead, focus on the weather and go out and shoot whenever the conditions are right - this is, when there's no one photographing it.