Creative Vision and a Sense of Place

Creative Vision and a Sense of Place

A key aspect to developing one’s personal vision in photography, is to acquire a profound Sense of Place for a chosen landscape.  Deep understanding comes by frequently visiting and exploring a place that is personally meaningful over a long period of time. One becomes familiar with different weather patterns and light values throughout all four seasons; only then can photographers make images that speak to their truth, and to the spirit of the land.

The revisiting of Farwell Canyon

I have revisited Farwell Canyon for years now; each trip providing a deeper awareness and understanding of the land’s many secrets and hidden treasures.

One trip this spring, cold winds and diffuse light revealed a new landscape so compelling, that I yelled to my travelling companion, Mike Duffy, to wait for me. As cold and uncomfortable as I was, I knew I had to try and capture the spirit of this place and how I was responding to it.

This challenge of communicating one’s emotional response, centers around developing a personal vision based on knowledge and experience.

Cold, desolate, and inhospitable

First, I articulated in my mind how I felt about what I was looking at; cold, desolate, and inhospitable. Secondly, I visualized how I could use the tools of my craft to communicate that feeling.

I set up my tripod, composed my image, and made a multiple exposure of 9, while shaking my tripod ever-so-slightly to generate a wind-blown feeling. In post-processing, I made the image fairly mono-chromatic to accentuate that feeling.

This image is a personal favourite, because when I look at it, it brings back the exact feelings I experienced when making this photograph.

My job as an artist is to create art, based on personal creative vision, and put it out into the world for others to see and experience. What happens beyond that point is in the response of the viewer.


If you are interested, developing your creative vision is of primary importance to Dennis Ducklow and I on the photographic workshops we teach each summer.

6 Comment

  1. Vera Busse says: Reply

    Boy really cold and stark with a movement. The colour captures the cold air.
    Love the images Chris. Having lived in the Caribou and out at Beaverdam it really brought back that feeling of loneliness looking out on a cold dark day.
    But it had beauty and you captured it here. Well done

  2. Joan Loeken says: Reply

    Not only does your image capture what you felt while photographing it, it conveys that feeling so well we viewers experience it, too.

  3. Jonathan Ratzlaff says: Reply

    I really like that image. It really illustrates what a cold winter day feels like.

    1. chris says: Reply

      Thank you Jonathan. Glad you felt it! Chris

  4. Valérie says: Reply

    Oh yeah, This is a lovely, darn(!) cold image. Very good nuance considering the conditions. The movement is just enough. Next I’ll have to buy a full frame with multiple exposures hmmm. A major drawback of my Sony A6000.
    Thanks for the image.

    1. chris says: Reply

      I would never have a camera without the multiple exposures feature. It’s so creative. I can be an impressionist, a cubist, or an abstractionist! So much fun! Chris

Leave a Reply