I thoroughly enjoy landscape photography. It’s an opportunity to get outdoors in all its diverse natural glory, and in all kinds of weather, to capture the beauty of nature through photographs.
Living in West Lancashire I feel lucky to have such wonderful places on my doorstep. From the sprawling countryside of West Lancashire to the dramatic mountainscapes of the Lake District and North Wales.
We really are spoiled for choice, for where to go for amazing landscape photography settings and within a couple of minutes or a couple of hours, I can be immersed in the wonders of nature.
I love them all but if I had to pick one, I’d have to say it is the Lake District. I have been walking in the area all my life, from being a small boy with my family to camping trips with school. Then as a young man with my mates, then later with my own children. It is a beautiful and inspiring place that’s never the same twice, no matter how many times you visit.
In recent years I have had the pleasure of doing this with my partner Jennie. However, in 2019 I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my feet and neck, which I’ve been told won’t get any better.
The funny thing is, although it isn’t really funny, it was on a walk in the Lakes, a mile into an eight-miler, in autumn 2018, which sealed my poor feet’s fate. It was a stunning day, cold but clear and I didn’t want to miss out on all the autumn colours.
My feet had been sore for a long time but nothing had prepared me for just how painful it was going to get. I had to sit down for half an hour to wait for the pain relief to kick in before I could move again. I did manage to finish on copious amounts of Anadin Extra and Ibuprofen but that was my hiking and climbing career over.
Some days I can manage, others I can’t but it has put a stop to the mountain treks and long-distance walks that I’d enjoyed for decades. I might have given up some of the big stuff but there’s still a lot of beauty that can be accessed by car, a short amble, and with little effort.
One of the things I’ve always loved about landscape photography is the health benefits it provides.
The type of things that can positively impact your well-being.
Exercise and fresh air in a stunning natural environment are good for the soul, especially after a long week at work.
Here are five health benefits that I got from my landscape photography expeditions.
- Stress reduction: Landscape photography provides an opportunity to disconnect from the stressors of daily life and focus on the present moment. It allowed me to immerse myself in the beauty of nature, which has a calming effect and can reduce stress levels.
- Increased physical activity: Landscape photography often involves spending time outdoors and walking around to find the perfect shot. This can increase physical activity levels, which is beneficial for overall health and can improve cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and flexibility.
- Improved mental health: Being in nature has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health, and landscape photography can amplify this effect. It can promote feelings of happiness, relaxation, and calmness, improving mood and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Enhanced creativity: Landscape photography encourages creativity and can improve problem-solving skills. It requires the photographer to think critically about composition, lighting, and angles, which can stimulate the brain and enhance creativity.
- Connection with nature: Spending time in nature has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety and improving overall well-being. Landscape photography can deepen the connection with nature and promote feelings of awe, which can enhance the comprehensive benefits of spending time in nature.
This landscape photography picture was taken on Saturday 8th August 2015, while Jennie and I were out walking around Grasmere. It holds a special meaning for me, as it was the first of my landscape photography pictures to be a competition winner. I’ve won several since but this was the first.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve sat on top of a mountain or on a fell side, waiting for the lighting to change to capture that perfect shot. Clouds skim over the fells and hills adding a dramatic effect to what is already a stunning landscape. There one minute, gone the next.
The landscape photography competition was run by Holiday Cottages who have, yes, you guessed it, rental holiday cottages all over the UK, including The Lake District. The prize was to have your image blown up and put on canvas, then have it displayed in one of their holiday properties in the place where your image was taken, for the following twelve months.
You would also have your image in their 2016 calendar and receive a smaller version for yourself, also on canvas. I was delighted when I got an email from Holliday Cottages, saying I’d been picked as one of twelve winners and my photograph would be displayed in one of their properties in Grasmere.
I love photography and have got thousands of pictures of the Lake District, all with their own unique stories, which I’ll share as time moves on. Sure, photographs are great to look at but nothing compares to the splendour of experiencing them first-hand and seeing these places with your own eyes.