Landscape Photography in the XXI Century

When speculating about the future of landscape photography one has to consider the climate of the world in which we live today…[where]…there is an abundance of topics that can be explored…. Social environments, political and national boundaries, globalization, continued urbanization, the vanishing family farm and the rise of the corporate one, or any number of other topics…[and]…look inward as well, exploring the psyche and personal impact of an ever-changing world….
– Kathleen Larsen.

I agree with Kathleen Larsen: when speculating about the future of landscape photography, one has to consider the climate of the world we live in today.

Regrettably, since Kathleen Larsen wrote her article, the climate of our ever-changing world is getting worse and worse…. and the landscapes are more and more landscapes of loss and destruction.

Despite Everything, Spring is Here Again

As all we know, the March 21 is the astronomical beginning of the spring season in our Hemisphere. But, in fact, Spring began earlier in Germany this year.

Nature goes on in its unstoppable course even with the serious problems and disasters related to our existence.

Spring is finally arrived, and we are having hot and sunny days.

This was one of the reasons why I took my camera and decided to look for new subjects, in spite of the sunny days.

At home, I realized that I came with some interesting close ups of flowers. I considered that flower close ups could be interesting subjects to work on and I decided to start a new project: Flower Close Ups.

Beauty and Natur

Hiking in the Taunus Mountain Range

Let’s just concentrate on where we are
There’s beauty enough in being here, not elsewhere

– Alberto Caeiro

I don’t have a philosophy: I have senses…
If I talk about Nature, it’s not because I know what it is,
But because I love it, and that’s why I love it,
Because when you love you never know what you love,
Or why you love, or what love is.

– Alberto Caeiro.

In the last days of winter I went for a hike in the Taunus mountain range. I didn’t find the unexpected, magnificent and astonishing landscapes that can be seen in travel or landscape photography magazines.

What I found were lethargic landscapes inhabited by yellow grasses and bare bushes and trees, unique witnesses of a humble nature of quiet beauty.

I Would Like to Celebrate the Life

This year, the first cranes have returned unusually early from their warmer winter quarters in southern countries.

A couple of great tits are inspecting the birdhouse I built last year for the balcony.

But, sadly, mankind cannot escape the condition of worshipers of Ares and Thanatos.

We are condemned to celebrate the death and visiting its landscapes.

The Cranes Have Started Their Spring Migration Earlier

It is said that Germany is incredibly grey in the winter. For sure, this year 2022 the skies have been grey with a low hanging clouds for weeks, although temperatures have been mild. And, as the days are really short, which makes it seem worse, the entire territory was plunged under gray skies.

After the snow falls of January, I was not really in the mood for going out to take pictures. After the snow melted away, the pale grayness of the sky soaked the entire landscape. Time to review my catalog and improve my post-processing skills.

And suddenly, for a week, almost every afternoon, I see these long meandering V-shaped flocks of the cranes coming back.

The Snow as a Shaman

One of the first days of January, a dick layer of snow covered the landscape. During the next few minutes I hesitated to awake, however at last I did it and went for a hike.

At that hour, I found quiet trails and deserted woodlands and between the bare trees it was a deep stillness. Being out there feeling the pure silence of winter was gorgeous. Only the sound of snow crunching under my boots broke the silence.

Although it was dark, I walked quickly as I knew the path very well, because it was crucial for me to be on location for the first light of the day. Once on location, I waited for the light, which came slowly, as it was an awfully cloudy day.

And, suddenly, it happened. The snow, acting as a Shaman, interacted as a medium between the spirits of the forest and me. Between the snow, the dark shapes of the trees were such as archaic, telluric Spirits of the Frozen Forest.

New Year

I spent the first days of January visiting a very interesting marsh and wetland area in Hessen, Germany, which is an important migration and resting place for migratory birds and winter guests.

When I crossed a stream I saw a great egret between the reeds. Every time I see an egret I must stop, step back, and look at the bird fascinated by its exquisite nature.

The white egret juxtaposed against the rusty reeds. After a few seconds in a characteristic pose of elegance and dignity, it slowly roamed the shallow waters on the edge of large reeds in search for its breakfast.

When it disappeared between the reads, I went in search of my breakfast, too.

Last Days of November, First Winter Snowfalls

Yes, I know, strictly speaking, winter begins on 21st December, so, November ist not yet winter. Nevertheless, these last days of November, the landscape is covered with a thick layer of snow, and the temperatures are below 0º C, consequently, I may say, winter.

As I said in my last post, November, a gray, cold and wet month, could be considered as a transition, being, indeed, an anomalous month in which it’s challenging to be convinced to go out for taking pictures. Trying to admire the beauty in nature on a November day with gray skies and naked trees is a challenge in itself.

Despite these days, we know that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over and the virus spreads quickly, with a large part of the world unvaccinated, I went out to welcome the first snowfalls.

November as a Transition

Sometimes, transitions are not effortless, as they convey change, that is the movement from something that is ending, to something that could begin. In between, there is a “no man’s land” with incertitude, missteps and instability.

November has neither the colors nor the skies nor the light of October, is not yet the winter, quite the opposite: November has overcast skies with gray or dark blue clouds that come down to earth as thick fog, so the colors of fall have mostly fallen and the lack of foliage reveals the dark silhouettes of the trunks.

During my last hikes in the woodlands and mountains I was uncomfortable, due to the gloomy, if not sinister, appearance of the woodlands. For that reason, I decided to change the setting looking for more open, lighter landscapes and I spend a couple of days on the upper Rhine plains.

In the course of my hikes,there was a light fog that allowed a gentle light for making pictures and, luckily, I enjoyed some chance encounters with great egrets, roe deers, birds of prey and hares running between the piles of harvested sugar beets.

Autumn Is on Its Way

Yes, the Sun is going down, to the South Pole…. Colder, shorter and misty days, magnificent woodlands, splendorous trees, a perfect combination for a few hikes to the mountain, the Taunus range, in the centre of Germany.

Consequently, I made some hikes, early morning, in some foggy days. Solitude, peace, but unfortunately not silence, inasmuch always there is a concert for harvester or lawnmower, with the basso continuo of the airplanes flying in the sky.

One day, a little herd of roe deer went away quickly from me. Another day, a squirrel raved at me considering I was too close to its tree with my tripod… It looks like the forest animals don’t like us, the humans, very much…

Meanwhile, the United Nations Climate Change Conference takes place in Glasgow, on its 26th edition, after 26 years, and the conference is on its way…