Beauty right in front of your eyes
I’m Sam and I am based in Kent, England. I work full time but spend my free time as a landscape photographer. When I get the chance, I also love to travel and capture some beautiful locations across the world. I was always the one to have the camera with me constantly snapping away at moments with friends but it wasn’t until a life-changing trip to Australia that really fuelled my passion for photography.
It was before that trip that I purchased my first DSLR, a Nikon D3200 with a kit lens and a 55-300mm to try and catch the wildlife. However, the stunning landscape of the likes of Whitsunday and the Daintree Rainforest was what really caught my eye.
Not long after I returned back home I went to Norfolk for training for four weeks and really got to start honing my skills. After a short while, I chopped and changed gear as I always thought something was missing. I moved up into full-frame and added a second body to take travelling due to weight. It wasn’t until one final change that I really felt at home.
What finally made me make the decision was watching a video by Andy Mumford. The stunning images he was producing with an X-T1 and the way he spoke so passionately about the brand sold me instantly. Man, was he right. The camera is solid, beautifully made and so ergonomically friendly. The body and lenses are light and compact. Every lens is tack sharp regardless of the price range.
Nearly a year and a half ago I sold everything I had and invested in an X-T3, 10-24mm, 35mm f2 and 55-200mm. This set up is accompanied by a Kase filter kit a Benro Mach 3 tripod and a Lowepro Protactic 450. This kit has become my staple and now my camera goes with me everywhere regardless of what I plan to do for the day, it is always there to capture the moment.
The only minor concern for me would be blowing up images for large prints. That being said, I have comfortably printed up to 50/60cm wide without issues.
I have lived my whole life in Kent but it wasn’t until the last few years that I have finally realised the beauty of what it has to offer. It feels like I was wandering around with my eyes shut the whole time. I try to visit somewhere new within the County as often as I can, trying to find a new hidden gem. I find apps like Instagram great for location scouting but they sometimes oversaturate the Internet with the same shot, as it is the “in thing” to shoot.
That is why I love to focus on the intricate details of the hidden gems. I have a few favourite iconic locations, which I go back to fairly regularly including Botany Bay and Reculver Towers. The key is trying to find more unusual compositions that have not been shot before.
Planning is a huge part of that as I almost exclusively shoot at sunrise or sunset as vibrancy is a key element to my work. A few days before I shoot I will use the satellite on Google Maps to find the location and then a few hours before the golden hour I will scout for a composition.
Generally, I prefer sunrise as I often have the place to myself and I am free to roam wherever I want to find the best locations and subjects. I think most landscape photographers will say the same but the hours leading up to the sunrise and following sunset are a must. Tonally the shots are much more pleasing with low glowing light on a subject, no harsh shadows and beautiful highlights.
During the overhaul of my kit, I also switched up my editing flow too. I previously used Lightroom for workflow but seeing the difference in how Lightroom and Capture One process the files, it was a no brainer for me. My editing style is quite stripped back as I prefer to do the work within the field. To make sure my image is 90% there before I edit I use a Kase K9 Wolverine filter system, with a graduated ND and a polarizer to really make the image as true to life as possible. I use Capture One primarily to bring out all of the beautiful colours from the RAW file.
My usual flow would be to adjust exposure and HDR tabs and then refine each area in a single layer with a graduated mask. I do not believe in adding something into the image as I want people to see exactly what I have seen during the shoot.
I think the reason I tend to shoot travel, as well as landscape, is that I believe they are very closely linked. The goal of both a landscape photographer and a travel photographer is very similar. You want to make people either feel like they are in the image or want to be there. I do not think there is a much better feeling than making someone want to drop everything and visit a place because of a shot you have created. It is a euphoric feeling similar to the moment the shutter was pressed originally.
Often we fantasize about the world-renowned locations across the globe, but we forget what is right in front of us. Beauty can be found everywhere. Become a tourist in your hometown and open your eyes wider to the beauty of the things you see on a day to day basis. You will be amazed by what you see.
“I’m Sam and I am based in Kent, England. I work full time but spend my free time as a landscape photographer. When I get the chance, I also love to travel and capture some beautiful locations across the world. I was always the one to have the camera with me constantly snapping away at moments with friends but it wasn’t until a life-changing trip to Australia that really fuelled my passion for photography.”