Landscape photography requires more patience than I possess

On our trip to Rocky Mountain National Park over Labor Day weekend, I realized I simply don’t have the time it takes to be a good landscape photographer.

I’ve been spending more and more time looking at images taken by some of the best landscape photographers on the planet recently. I’ve bookmarked the websites of Colleen Miniuk-Sperry, Guy Tal, Floris Van Breugel, and Tim Christie. They have a gift for seeing things most of us just walk past without seeing. It doesn’t hurt that all these photographers also know how to get their cameras to do exactly what they want them to do in every instance.

But they all also have to have an incredible amount of patience. When I took my family to Rocky Mountain National Park over Labor Day weekend, we saw some landscapes that had the potential to be incredible landscape photos, but when we were in the right place, we weren’t there at the right time. It’s not enough to just be where the beautiful places are – you also have to be there when the sun is hitting those gorgeous vistas just right, or the clouds are dancing in just the right way, and when everything looks exactly perfect. And that takes patience.

It might also require being there without a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old. I could have sat on a craggy knob for hours, waiting for the sun to dip down just below the mountain at my back, leaving the peak in front of me lit only on the top half, but there is absolutely no way Colby and Logan would have let me. There would have been a family mutiny long before the light was just right. So we kept on trucking.

I did manage to get us to a spot where the light was right, and the clouds were doing something cool, and the road widened enough for me to pull off for a quick shot of a golden mountaintop, but even that required some cajoling of the backseat passengers.

I may have to put off my plans to expand my landscape photography until the kids are in college. Until then, I’ll keep looking for those wide spots in the road.