Michael Pilkington
Michael Pilkington

It was a couple of years ago now and Paul and I had arrived in Lofoten a couple of days early for our annual workshop.  We usually arrive earlier as we have to make sure that hotels are in order and vans and cars are picked up.  You need to make sure everything is in place for when our clients arrive.  Moreover, you have to account for possible flight delays and cancellations.  It doesn’t look good if we arrive a day after our clients!


Lofoten by Andy Phillips


Anyway, we had time to make some of own photographs.  You would be surprised how little time we actually get to do this.  It is ironic really.  It is a bit like the cobbler who has holes in his own shoes whilst all his customers are well shod.  And it is not just time, it is quality time.  Time to dwell and absorb the landscape around you.  To contemplate the elements and feel inspiration and emotion.  These are important factors in making photographs.

We had spent the whole day visiting a couple of locations, and I have to say, I was getting very despondent despite the landscapes in front of me being awesome. I wasn’t quite capturing images that I really felt happy about.  On reflection, I think that you need some time to warm up and get your eye in.  You can’t just pick up a camera after a couple of months and expect to make a masterpiece.  I would imagine it must be like playing the guitar or piano.  If you didn’t practice often and frequently then you would fumble a few notes or chords and the timing and rhythm might be off kilter.  Photography is no different!

We were getting to the end of the day and I was very frustrated.  Our last location was Uttakiev Beach.  I was walking over and around the rocks stretching out into the sea with a fair number of waves crashing over them.  My eye settled on this lovely crack in the rocks arching towards the distant mountain.  My first and logical choice was to mount my 24mm tilt and shift lens as I really wanted the entirety of the foreground rock and the mountains to be back to back pin sharp.  Alas, this lens wasn’t really wide enough, so I opted for a 16mm lens which would also beneficially exaggerate the foreground curve.  As soon as I pressed the shutter and inspected the image on the back of the camera, I knew I had the image I wanted.  It literally ‘clicked’ with me (no pun intended).  This is a really good measure for me, that ‘feel good’ factor immediately after taking an image normally results in a photograph, I will enjoy processing, printing and sharing.