landscape

Masters of Landscape Photography

I'm honored to announce that I was selected as the Master of Nighttime for the new Masters of Landscape Photography book by Ross Hoddinott. It includes photographers such as Art Wolfe, Daniel Kordan, Marc Adamus and many more. The 176 page-book includes interviews with ten selected photographers including yours truly. There are ten pages for each photographer with many photos with all the EXIF information and words from the photographers. The book is beautifully well made and the look is high quality, and I can highly recommend it. 

"The work of these 'masters of landscape' changes one's sense of the world: leaves it somehow brighter around the edges, darker in its currents, or more lively in its energies."

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How to keep yourself motivated and take better photos?

As I'm looking back to my ten-year journey in photography, I realize that I have had my ups and downs. The thing that I have found out to be one of the keys to my success and for the other photographers I spend time with is perseverance. It's not a surprising thing, but how many of us overlook it? I certainly did. Why? Is it because we don't want to admit that it takes a long time to create beautiful work? 

It's much easier to focus on things that don't matter. Or it might be because someone else is developing stunning work, they must have it in their genes? Why do we do this? It's paralyzing! 

As I have been creating the Day & Night video course, I have realized that I can't focus on many things at the same time. It led me to focus only on the course, which then lowered my ability to go out and photograph. And I haven't been active on social media either. Looking back over the last two months I have barely gone out to shoot which has dropped my confidence in creating beautiful work. If you didn't know by now, I'm not perfect. 

I haven't seen many posts about motivation when it comes to photography, so I decided to write one. I'm sure all of us sometimes lack the motivation to take photos, but I think it all depends how fast you can bounce out of it.

For me, it's sometimes hard to find balance. I love to share my knowledge with people, but if I "can't" go out to photograph I feel uninspired. I think we all have these assumptions of how we are and that we cannot do anything about it. In fact, I think that those are just scripts that run in the back of our mind to keep us taking action needed to break out from the jam we are.

So what are the steps we can take to break out of these excuses and keep us motivated to create beautiful photographs?

1. PLAN

Make a plan that is easy to follow through. I use an "easy-motivation-planner" I have created when I'm planning my week. I don't plan all of my weeks like in the below example. Instead, I use it if I haven't been photographing lately or find it hard to go out and take photographs. The planner has a day, time, place, goal and ideas sections.

A preview of how the planner looks like.

Here is a breakdown of the planner:

  • The Day, of course, is the day you want to go out and photograph in a specific location.
  • Time is when you need to head out from your home, so calculate enough time before the sunrise, sunset or any time you want to visit a location.
  • The Place is a specific location you want to visit that time. If you don't have a place in mind, use Google maps as a location scouter.
  • The Goal is what it is that you want to capture, is it perhaps seascape or landscape or anything you wish to achieve from the location.
  • Ideas are from your idea archive. Put at least one idea for the shoot in this section.  Don't know how to create ideas that are unique? Check out my video course

Download a copy of my easy-motivation-planner here.

2. Make it Impossible to fail

I bet there have been times when you have woken up but felt that you need to keep on sleeping instead of heading out to photograph. I know I have. Or you have been busy doing something else and forgot to go out and capture the sunset. We all have many excuses not to go out and photograph...

One of the best things you can do is prepare for it. Take the excuses away!

  • Charge your camera & gear beforehand
  • Pack your gear into your backpack and keep it ready
  • Make sure you have enough gas in your car if you wish to travel with it

When you want to capture the sunrise

  • Keep your clothes prepared near your bed
  • Make it easy to take a coffee or tea with you or grab one on the go
  • Cook your breakfast the day before 

You can add any steps you think makes it easier to go out. If you have gone through all of these, I bet you would feel stupid not to go! 

3. TAKE ACTION NO MATTER WHAT

It sounds counter-intuitive but if you doubt yourself the only way to break out of that doubt is to take action. Go out and take photographs, no matter what. When you make a plan, you can always say to yourself that this is what you promised yourself when you were thinking about the best interest of your photography. So listen to your past-self and take action. Action-cycle is where you want to end up!

4. GO OUT WITH OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS 

Chat with a fellow photographer and plan a trip, whatever it takes for you to start taking action and going out to photograph. If you make yourself accountable to other photographers, you will make progress. "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Yeah, it's a cliche already, but having people around that increases your positivity is crucial! Having like-minded people who want to create work that stands-out makes you feel inspired.

5. STOP SPENDING TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Scrolling the internet (except my site of course) or using the smartphone instead of going out is a way to kill your productivity. I'm not saying that you should entirely stop using social media or any platforms that connect you with other creators and followers. I'm just saying that you should have more time for creation than for watching what other people have done. Create work that inspires you!

 

The above steps have worked for me, let me know if you find them useful!

I know this post was something different, so leave a comment and let me know if you want to see posts like these in the future. Enjoy Spring everyone! 

 
 

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First Snow

Feeling inspired by the first snowfall of the season, I headed to one of my favorite spots near our home. There is always something magical about the first snow and how it lights up the landscape.The heavy snowfall and the beauty of the landscapes with calm water made me appreciate the moment. In the blizzard, I saw a fisherman going for his fish traps and rowing in the middle of the lake. The scenery sure looked like a still from a movie. I captured many photographs here and might publish some later.

After spending time at the first location, I decided to head to Järvenpää and photograph a spot I have been to many times and this time I had luck with the conditions. Not a single person in sight and no tracks in the snow I carefully made my way to the beach. Capturing the beach and lake and balancing the elements I saw a man approaching the scenery. I waited for some minutes before he was in the perfect spot. 

Exif & Equipment

Nikon D810, Sigma 20 mm f/1.4 ART
ISO 100, 1/160 exposure, f/4.0

Post-Processing

I used Lightroom basic settings to edit the photograph. The colors I edited by using my Phase Preset Collection - Blue & Yellow. 

First Snow - Mikko Lagerstedt 2017 - Järvenpää, Finland

First Snow - Mikko Lagerstedt 2017 - Järvenpää, Finland

Summer Morning Dream

Even though I love to capture the stars and the Milky Way, I love summer mornings. In Finland, summer is so bright that you can't see the Milky Way. I have been photographing mostly on summer mornings and nights recently, and I found that they are full of mystery and beauty. Mist crawling to a field to create a beautiful isolated feeling. I captured this picture a few days ago after photographing the whole night. After a couple of rainy days, the sun made an appearance on this beautiful sunrise. This image was captured in Kerava, Finland. I placed my camera on the tripod and used the camera's self-timer and ran to the scenery. 

Equipment & Exif

Nikon D810, Nikkor 14-24 mm f/2.8 G ED
ISO 100, 1/100, 14 mm @ f/2.8 

Color edited with my Lightroom Phase Preset Collection: Hazy - Surreal

Mikko Lagerstedt – Summer Morning Dream – Kerava, Finland 2016

Dimension - Kilpisjärvi, Finland

I visited Kilpisjärvi in February and while I was there I had the pleasure to go out and explore the landscapes. I had a vision how I wanted to show the landscape. I captured this photograph on my first evening there. It was a quite windy, cold yet quiet environment. Standing in this beautiful scenery alone in the dark was an amazing experience. I captured the scenery using my Vision of Depth technique. Which you can find in my Star Photography Masterclass eBook.

Equipment & Exif

Nikon D810, Nikkor 14-24 mm f/2.8 & Sirui Tripod & Ball head. 
Foreground: 4 min 32 sec, f/8 ISO 800, 14 mm
Stars: 30 sec. f/2.8, ISO 1600, 14 mm

Post-Processing

Edit in Lightroom using the Panorama function (see my free tutorial) capturing two horizontal exposures. Edited with Saga Preset Collection (Cold Night).