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Author Topic: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?  (Read 1621 times)

Hans Kruse

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Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« on: August 19, 2018, 12:24:58 pm »

You can't go to Val d'Orcia in Tuscany without going to the Belvedere view. You have to come early to get your shot or you will not get one :)

Although I in principle hate this iconic shot hunting, it is a nice view you get from there and with many different compositions possible even standing in the exact same spot.



Belvedere morning light by Hans Kruse, on Flickr

stamper

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2018, 03:47:01 am »

Wow

Dave (Isle of Skye)

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2018, 09:44:37 am »

You can't go to Val d'Orcia in Tuscany without going to the Belvedere view. You have to come early to get your shot or you will not get one :)

Although I in principle hate this iconic shot hunting, it is a nice view you get from there and with many different compositions possible even standing in the exact same spot.

Of course you should always shoot the iconic shots Hans, after all that is why they have become so iconic to us photographers, because they are just so photographic.

I also do not agree with the idea that we should not take an image of scene, iconic or otherwise, just because hundred million people have taken it before, because if you haven't taken it before, then for you it is brand new.

I mean you are probably never going to hear someone saying things like "Oh I never intend see or even visit the Grand Canyon, because hundreds of millions of people got there before me and so there is nothing I could see, that hasn't already been looked at."

If you see it and you like it, then shoot it  ;)

Dave
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luxborealis

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2018, 10:27:09 am »

I mean you are probably never going to hear someone saying things like "Oh I never intend see or even visit the Grand Canyon, because hundreds of millions of people got there before me and so there is nothing I could see, that hasn't already been looked at."
Dave

I find I'm in agreement with you Dave on just about everything, but this is one time I will choose to differ. Please don't take offense - your comment merely struck a nerve. Just this morning, in light of our recent travels to SE Asia, Iceland and points closer to home, my wife and I have recently begun re-evaluating our future travel plans to specifically avoid the iconic places that have become over-run with tourists - mostly "tickers" and the selfie crowd. We no longer have great interest in visiting Banff again, or even Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, (which we have never visited) unless it is the off season, and even then it's a maybe.

I'm not saying there aren't new ways of seeing old places. It was one of my goals whilst living in England for three years: "How do I shoot the same old, but not in the same old way?" and I had some success, but battling crowds for shots that a thousand people have already made, makes me think twice about what my goals are for travel and photography.

Nothing against Hans' excellent photograph above, but even on this site, I'm growing tired of seeing the same places photographed the same way - Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Antelope Canyon, Palouse amongst others; and on other sites Lofoten, as if it's the only place in Norway! Given the discussion of late on Antelope Canyon, I now have zero interest in going there. Even Zion has lost its lustre, yet all of these are iconic places.

We were in the Everglades a few years ago and greatly enjoyed the wildlife viewing and photographing opportunities that were NOT in the national park. There are a number of much, much quieter places along the Hwy 41 corridor. In fact, the only day we went to the park, its parking lot was full. We headed to another spot along Hwy 41 and saw all the same wildlife: bald eagles, roseate spoonbills, great egrets, etc.

Even in Iceland, our favourite time is now March and not in the southwest, but rather the north, the West Fjords and the East. The icons of Seljalandsfoss, Reynisfjara and other places have lost their lustre to some degree due to over-crowding and the internet being polluted with half-assed crappy photos of these great places.

As I said, we are beginning to tailor our travels to the "road less travelled". Given the right ambient conditions and light, one can find iconic photographs just about anywhere.
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PeterAit

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2018, 11:29:16 am »

I partly agree with luxborealis. I don't shy away from photographing iconic places because I end up with *my* photo of, say, Bryce Canyon, and it's part of the record of my trip. But I will avoid such a place if it will be jam-packed with selfie-stick dingdongs and the like.
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Hans Kruse

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2018, 05:07:21 am »

Of course you should always shoot the iconic shots Hans, after all that is why they have become so iconic to us photographers, because they are just so photographic.

I also do not agree with the idea that we should not take an image of scene, iconic or otherwise, just because hundred million people have taken it before, because if you haven't taken it before, then for you it is brand new.

I mean you are probably never going to hear someone saying things like "Oh I never intend see or even visit the Grand Canyon, because hundreds of millions of people got there before me and so there is nothing I could see, that hasn't already been looked at."

If you see it and you like it, then shoot it  ;)

Dave

Dave,

The iconic locations became iconic mostly for good reasons and I do like to also shoot there. But what turns me off is the mass of photographers that come to these locations and also the travel world wide to go hunting for the iconic locations. Many of them marketed by social media. I have talked with hotel owners on Isle of Skye and on Lofoten and they all believe that the reason the amount of visitors has risen dramatically over the last 5-8 years is social media. Some have told me that some of the visitors have even "complained" that it didn't look like on the photos!! :) Of course we know why. E.g. on Isle of Skye when I come down from a morning shoot at the Old Man of Stor the tourists are coming up the trail. I have not visited Iceland and I'm not in a hurry to do so with the crowds I hear about.

I do like to take my own photos even if the composition might be similar to somebody elses shot. I think I can give it my own personal touch, but will anybody notice? Not sure. Interestingly enough in Val d'Orcia which is so busy with tourists and photographers in May and late October/early November when I prefer to go there there are plenty of places to shot where there are absolutely nobody. There are many locations that are very nice, but hasn't risen to the same status.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 07:12:23 am by Hans Kruse »
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Dave (Isle of Skye)

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2018, 06:44:30 am »

I find I'm in agreement with you Dave on just about everything, but this is one time I will choose to differ. Please don't take offense - your comment merely struck a nerve. Just this morning, in light of our recent travels to SE Asia, Iceland and points closer to home, my wife and I have recently begun re-evaluating our future travel plans to specifically avoid the iconic places that have become over-run with tourists - mostly "tickers" and the selfie crowd. We no longer have great interest in visiting Banff again, or even Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, (which we have never visited) unless it is the off season, and even then it's a maybe.

I'm not saying there aren't new ways of seeing old places. It was one of my goals whilst living in England for three years: "How do I shoot the same old, but not in the same old way?" and I had some success, but battling crowds for shots that a thousand people have already made, makes me think twice about what my goals are for travel and photography.

Nothing against Hans' excellent photograph above, but even on this site, I'm growing tired of seeing the same places photographed the same way - Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Antelope Canyon, Palouse amongst others; and on other sites Lofoten, as if it's the only place in Norway! Given the discussion of late on Antelope Canyon, I now have zero interest in going there. Even Zion has lost its lustre, yet all of these are iconic places.

We were in the Everglades a few years ago and greatly enjoyed the wildlife viewing and photographing opportunities that were NOT in the national park. There are a number of much, much quieter places along the Hwy 41 corridor. In fact, the only day we went to the park, its parking lot was full. We headed to another spot along Hwy 41 and saw all the same wildlife: bald eagles, roseate spoonbills, great egrets, etc.

Even in Iceland, our favourite time is now March and not in the southwest, but rather the north, the West Fjords and the East. The icons of Seljalandsfoss, Reynisfjara and other places have lost their lustre to some degree due to over-crowding and the internet being polluted with half-assed crappy photos of these great places.

As I said, we are beginning to tailor our travels to the "road less travelled". Given the right ambient conditions and light, one can find iconic photographs just about anywhere.

Terry, hopefully you know me well enough by now (online at least) and if so, you will probably also know that I don't easily take offence at much of anything these days  ;)

This whole subject of the 'Iconic' shot and the photographic ruination of it by the thronging crowds of the less worthy (photographically speaking of course), is something that we can all chew over and gnash our teeth at endlessly. But I do find it odd that we photographers seem to naturally assume, that we have a some sort of intrinsic higher value when it comes to these locations and how it is only 'us' that are part of the 'great and the good', who should be allowed to see and photograph these places, as we do it properly and everyone else is somehow lower down the pecking order because they don't do it as well - however, I also completely agree with you Terry, that the annoyance of the selfie-stick mob and the 70mph i-phone and i-pad drive past shooter, is so annoying it can make you want to pull your hair out at the roots.

But as I have already said some time ago in a thread that Kevin started, it is us that are doing all this to ourselves, by first finding, then taking and then showing to the world on Instagram or flickr or whatever, all these iconic locations at their absolute stunning best? So if this is true and I strongly believe it is, then surely isn't it really all our own fault, that this endless stream of humanity are now flocking to these places and ruining them photographically? And isn't this all a direct result of us landscape photographers, having become so skilled at making all these locations look so damn good?

I don't know what the answer is and I agree again Terry that to find and shoot something beautiful, that no one has ever shot before and will probably never find again unless you take them there, is so sweet and satisfying it can really feed your soul. But this doesn't stop me wanting to see and photograph the 'Icons' just for my own satisfaction and entertainment, if for nothing else.

Dave
« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 06:51:42 am by Dave (Isle of Skye) »
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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2018, 07:13:03 am »

Well, actually Dave, while you raise a good point, i much prefer the "iconic" shots of somebody who is intimitely familiar with his locale and reveales to us some of the intricate beauty associated with a specific environment, that one only learns to appreciate after spending enough time there. When i think about the quintessential exponent of that, i think about you.
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Dave (Isle of Skye)

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2018, 07:16:54 am »

Dave,

The iconic locations became iconic mostly for good reasons and I do like to also shoot there. But turns me off is the mass of photographers that come to these locations and also the travel world wide to go hunting for the iconic locations. Many of them marketed by social media. I have talked with hotel owners on Isle of Skye and on Lofoten and they all believe that the reason the amount of visitors has risen dramatically over the last 5-8 years is social media. Some have told me that some of the visitors have even "complained" that it didn't look like on the photos!! :) Of course we know why. E.g. on Isle of Skye when I come down from a morning shoot at the Old Man of Stor the tourists are coming up the trail. I have not visited Iceland and I'm not in a hurry to do so with the crowds I hear about.

I do like to take my own photos even if the composition might be similar to somebody elses shot. I think I can give it my own personal touch, but will anybody notice? Not sure. Interestingly enough in Val d'Orcia which is so busy with tourists and photographers in May and late October/early November when I prefer to go there there are plenty of places to shot where there are absolutely nobody. There are many locations that are very nice, but hasn't risen to the same status.

At the moment, the Isle of Skye seems to be getting a lot of coverage in the media for being stunning, which of course it is, but the media also keeps banging on about how crowded and grid locked the Island has become, which I can categorically state is NOT the case and not even anywhere close to it. The reason I believe Skye gets this type of press coverage, is because yes the Island is becoming more popular (voted one of the most beautiful islands in the world by National Geographic no less), but because we are so remote and the infrastructure just isn't here and if left to the Scottish government will never be installed here either. So if you get more than a couple of camper-van drivers, who do not know how to use single track roads with passing places, then you get a queue. Now this is annoying, but it is definitely not an island that is in complete gridlock as the press would have you believe.

I go out regularly and to the iconic locations and even in summer, I mostly have the place to myself, such as Elgol for instance, which I was there only a couple of weeks ago and at the absolute height of the tourist season, yet there I was shooting a reasonably good sunset and there was only one other couple at the opposite end of the beach and that was it.

I also sort of agree with the Scottish government on the infrastructure thing, because I know if they did build it, then the hordes would surely come. But if you don't build it, then they can't get here in any significant numbers, but those that are more determined such as us serious photographer types, will. And that seems to be about as perfect a balancing act as could be hoped for.

Yet here I am sat tapping away on the keyboard and I know that if I picked up my camera right now, I could go out to any of at least a hundred places that were absolutely stunning right now and I would be stood there looking at it completely on my own - and so I think that is what landscape photography (good landscape photography) is all about right now, not skimming the surface for the obvious shots, or the easy shots as the crowds do, but looking deeper into the place, or from a totally different point of view.

I know this sounds like a complete hyperbolic boast on my part, but I could show you images of places on Skye and the surrounding area of the North West of Scotland, that would make your toes tingle and that no one else knows about (other than the locals who actually live at that location if there are any) or ever seems to go to other than me.

Dave
« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 07:28:22 am by Dave (Isle of Skye) »
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Hans Kruse

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2018, 07:21:23 am »

Well, actually Dave, while you raise a good point, i much prefer the "iconic" shots of somebody who is intimitely familiar with his locale and reveales to us some of the intricate beauty associated with a specific environment, that one only learns to appreciate after spending enough time there. When i think about the quintessential exponent of that, i think about you.

Coming back to the same locations is one thing I enjoy a lot. When I do my workshops I always come 3-4 days before the workshop starts to look for new spots and since I have come in Tuscany now for 10 years I know the area of Val d'Orcia very well and have found many spots that I really like. I always try to preach this to my workshop students to come back to the same locations. Study their shots and find out what were good compositions and which ones could need improvement and then go back and make it better. Also coming back years later you can discover new ways to shoot that you didn't do before since you have improved or changed your taste in shooting. E.g. more in the direction of minimalistic or simply refinement of compositions. Some of my students have even revealed that they would never come back to the same location again and then there is no discussion :)

Hans Kruse

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2018, 07:29:42 am »

At the moment, the Isle of Skye seems to be getting a lot of coverage in the media for being stunning, which of course it is, but the media also keeps banging on about how crowded and grid locked the Island has become, which I can categorically state is NOT the case and not even anywhere close to it. The reason I believe Skye gets this type of press coverage, is because yes the Island is becoming more popular (voted one of the most beautiful islands in the world by National Geographic no less), but because we are so remote and the infrastructure just isn't here and if left to the Scottish government will never be installed here either. So if you get more than a couple of camper-van drivers, who do not know how to use single track roads with passing places, then you get a queue. Now this is annoying, but it is definitely not an island that is in complete gridlock as the press would have you believe.

I go out regularly and to the iconic locations and even in summer, I mostly have the place to myself, such as Elgol for instance, which I was there only a couple of weeks ago and at the absolute height of the tourist season, yet there I was shooting a reasonably good sunset and there was only one other couple at the opposite end of the beach and that was it.

I also sort of agree with the Scottish government on the infrastructure thing, because I know if they did build it, then the hordes would surely come. But if you don't build it, then they can't get here in any significant numbers, but those that are more determined such as us serious photographer types, will. And that seems to be about as perfect a balancing act as could be hoped for.

Yet here I am sat tapping away on the keyboard and I know that if I picked up my camera right now, I could go out to any of at least a hundred places that were absolutely stunning right now and I would be stood there looking at it completely on my own - that is what photography is now all about I think, not skimming the surface for  the obvious as the crowds do, but looking deeper or from a totally different point of view.

Dave

Dave,

From my more limited experience, I find the only places on Isle of Skye really with a lot of visitors is the Old Man of Stor with long lines of parked cars and the Fairy Pools are also quite busy with lots of cars parked and lots of people walking the trails and sometimes they are in the way for the shooting too. Other than that in September when I come there is plenty of space. At Elgol there is usually people and often more than you mention from my visits, but still not too much so it is not possible to shoot. In the Quiraing I'm often there with a group and there are other cars parked but they are nowhere in sight where we are shooting. I do think the roads are quite busy at times and the hotels are fully booked a lot of the time, at least in Portree. But I agree with you that if the roads got wider and more hotels were built more people would come.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 08:44:11 am by Hans Kruse »
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Dave (Isle of Skye)

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2018, 07:31:11 am »

Well, actually Dave, while you raise a good point, i much prefer the "iconic" shots of somebody who is intimitely familiar with his locale and reveales to us some of the intricate beauty associated with a specific environment, that one only learns to appreciate after spending enough time there. When i think about the quintessential exponent of that, i think about you.

My goodness, you are making me feels so awkward right now just by saying that, I much appreciate it of course, but give over already, you're making me blush...

Dave
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Alan Klein

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2018, 08:49:46 am »

The "awe" you feel from visiting many iconic spots cannot be duplicated in any photo no matter how good.  A two dimension print of a three-dimension vista, seen, smelled, and felt standing there just cannot complete.  Go stand in the tunnel parking lot at inspiration point in Yosemite and feel the presence of God.  And it's OK to take a record or artistic shot.  But you have to go there.  There's nothing like it.

luxborealis

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2018, 03:55:05 pm »

The "awe" you feel from visiting many iconic spots cannot be duplicated in any photo no matter how good.  A two dimension print of a three-dimension vista, seen, smelled, and felt standing there just cannot complete.  Go stand in the tunnel parking lot at inspiration point in Yosemite and feel the presence of God.  And it's OK to take a record or artistic shot.  But you have to go there.  There's nothing like it.

I know what you’re saying, Alan, and not having visited Yosemite, I can’t speak from direct experience, but I’ve been to enough inspiring, iconic places in the world that might make me “feel the presence of God” except for the scads of people ruining the view with their noise and self-indulgence. I think I’ll just look to Ansel’s work to truly appreciate Yosemite, and find other places in the world with natural beauty for me to enjoy personally, but with few/no tourists to ruin the moment.
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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2018, 04:01:38 pm »

Well said, Dave. I’m with you.
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BradSmith

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2018, 02:07:50 am »

For those writing here who are critical of the "iconic places", it sounds like your problem is with all the people around you rather than with the iconic place or the iconic image.  Sure, it might feel better to emerge from the Yosemite tunnel to see the valley view in front of you, with not a soul in sight, and take a wonderful image.  But you can take the same wonderful image with hundreds of people milling about (as long as they aren't in your camera's field of view   :D).  The final images are the same, only your memories of the circumstances are different. 

 
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Telecaster

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2018, 03:22:56 pm »

I've visited Grand Canyon National Park twice since having a less-than-pleasant experience there in summer 1993: once in late autumn 1994 and again in late winter/early spring 2014. On both eight-day visits I had the place as much to myself as I wanted. My point: if it's the crowds that put you off, go when they ain't there.  ;)

-Dave-
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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2018, 10:14:54 am »

Even if from an icon, still needs to be done properly, like you do.

Dave (Isle of Skye)

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2018, 05:48:28 am »

..But you can take the same wonderful image with hundreds of people milling about (as long as they aren't in your camera's field of view..

Spot on Brad, spot on.

The art and the shot is still there, it is just up to us to find it and then reach into the scene to pull it out from the noise that surrounds it, be that anything from a branch sticking into the side of the shot, to an endless throng of selfie stick carrying tourists milling around in front of it, the shot is still there.

Dave
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Hans Kruse

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Re: Iconic shots - sometimes why not?
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2018, 09:26:25 am »

Spot on Brad, spot on.

The art and the shot is still there, it is just up to us to find it and then reach into the scene to pull it out from the noise that surrounds it, be that anything from a branch sticking into the side of the shot, to an endless throng of selfie stick carrying tourists milling around in front of it, the shot is still there.

Dave

I agree and there is no difference in shooting at the most famous places and lesser famous places in that regard. Only in some places that the crowds are just too much and kind of spoils the pleasure. I forgot about the Neist Point on Isle of Skye as well with tons of people, but there is so much space that it is still possible to get the shot. Maybe not exactly the one you want because you get into the frame of somebody else.

So despite I do like a lot of the iconic locations, I find more pleasure in shooting at less crowded and equally nice locations. The Dolomites which I find iconic, there is no issues with lots of photographers. Most of the locations I go with my workshop groups are empty of people.
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