|I took the 8x10 [camera] out of the
car and set it up so I could get to my tools. There was much work to be
done before any picture could be made.
twenty feet of puckerbrush that grew ten feet high between the roadside and the pond.
I told them [some onlookers] that I was going to cut out all the brush before taking the picture. So, with my heavy-duty loppers and pruning saw, I went at it while they stared in surprise. They couldnt believe it. All that work for one picture. While I was at it I showed them how to cut the saplings on a slant with the newly cut bright side facing away from the camera position.
In this case I wasnt yet sure what I would include [in the photo].
After setting up and focusing we noticed a few more saplings that had to go.
By now I hope youre thinking, "What the hell is this Rob Gray bloke doing cutting down trees for a photo?" Well I am pleased to say that the above excerpt is not mine. Its from an article written by another photographer.
It appears that the onlookers could not believe what they were seeing. Under the circumstances Im sure I couldnt either, although for entirely different reasons. I fully expect this authors next article to be along the lines of, "Correct chainsaw usage for landscape photographers".
In my opinion, you should have as little effect on the landscape as is humanly possible. It is now common practice for bushwalkers to follow the Minimal Impact Bushwalking (MIB) code. The MIB catch phrase is, "Take only photographs, leave only footprints". I propose that photographers should be even more careful, that is we should "Take only photographs, leave nothing". Naturally it is not always possible to follow either maxim but one thing is certain, no photograph is worth the destruction of the subject or its surroundings.
When in the bush I follow a set of guidelines that I use as my own MIB code, one that I believe is relevant for all landscape photographers. These guidelines are as follows:
As I mentioned, these are guidelines and I will occasionally break them in small ways if I feel that the photo is worth it.
The photo Transient Shapes is a good example of forward thinking that didnt quite work out as planned. While on a pre-dawn walk in Mimosa Rocks National Park I noticed these peculiar shapes in the sand. My companions and I detoured as I felt there would be a good photo opportunity after the sun had risen. We continued to a nearby rocky point and, over the next hour or two, all got some good photos (see Dragon Mist). On my return to the sandy shapes I was upset to see that a surfer had walked right through my composition. Initially I felt that my photo had been ruined, I stood and analysed the composition for a minute and decided that, actually it had been improved. The old Receding footprints in the sand trick is a bit of a cliché but I felt that the combination of the footprints and the rounded shapes made a nice image.
Before the last tide these shapes didnt exist
An hour ago the foot prints didnt exist
After the next tide neither will exist
These are transient shapes