There tends to be an overarching generic uniformity to the various landscape photographs I have taken from the train on my many journeys up and down the mainline between London and Inverness. Time after time they show the same basic selection of scenes, taken from the same moving-yet-immovable vantage point, namely a moving train travelling on a single fixed track.
But still I keep on taking more new pictures every time I travel in the hope of creating something slightly different each time. And without fail, I find I never quite capture exactly the same view – or at least the same feeling – twice. Always my final images look subtly – and on occasion dramatically – different from those taken on any previous trip.
In essentials the underlying landscape itself remains reasonably constant, the mountains and rivers and lochs stay fundamentally unchanged from one visit to the next. And yet there are always variables to take into consideration. The time of year, the time of day, and the weather all create different atmospheric conditions leading to different light at any given time. Seasonal changes to foliage make a difference too, as do agriculture and forestry.
So although I know roughly where to look out to try to capture my favourite potential shots, I have no idea as to what I’ll actually find until it is actually upon me, at which point I have only a few seconds to compose-and-click and just hope for the best. In some ways I’m not at all crafting an ideal image with care and attention but rather am sticking to far a more spontaneous snap-and-see methodology.
I suppose where the skill comes is in knowing in advance approximately what I’m hoping to see and being prepared for any eventuality – sometimes for delight and sometimes for disappointment. I’ve discovered I need a standard to wide-angle lens to get the best shots – a telephoto lens is just too difficult to hold steady on a rattling moving train. And my composition has to be loose enough to play about with cropping the final image afterwards but tight enough to capture what I want without losing too much in resolution.
These three images were taken early last week, early in the morning, and are of a favourite spot on the journey. They are similar, yet are different to any other images of this spot captured before. So although there may be a uniformity in my image-taking, there is also a never-ending challenge to capture what may be, for me, the uniquely perfect shot of the beautifully scenic landscapes of home ❤