For someone who loves great landscapes as much as I do, I don’t shoot a lot of them. When I do, it’s accidental that I find myself in these places to begin with. It’s probably my temperament; my impatience makes me ill-suited to sitting for days and waiting for the light. It doesn’t help that I hate carrying a tripod. But once in a while I look at the work of other photographers and the interplay of light, weather, and land, and I realize again how a truly excellent landscape can give a sense of the scope, beauty, and feel of a place that environmental portraits and tighter detail shots just can’t.

Whether you’re in the middle of Montana or Venice, a landscape—rural or urban—can be a powerful establishing shot, creating mood as much ...

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