Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
I have discovered the work of UK landscape photographer Thomas Heaton through his YouTube channel around a year ago, and I have been following his videos with interest and enjoyment ever since. He has quite a talent for staging and keeping the story focused and fun. And that’s before starting to consider his actual photography, his attention to light and composition. The results are quite impressive. What I find very appealing is his discipline and restraint (if you can call it that): he strives to capture a single image per location, with the best lighting and composition, and do the least amount of postprocessing required. Since my passion for photography started with a film camera where you don’t have the luxury of shooting dozens of versions of the same scene to select the best later, I can relate closely to this style of working. I think many photographers would improve their skills considerably if they would adopt this approach for a limited period at least.
Professional lenses do not make the sun rise. Full frame cameras contribute nothing to the freezing of a Scottish Loch or the scattering of light in the earth’s atmosphere. A carbon fibre tripod has never been the known cause of the Aurora Borealis. No! You are the main contributing factor to a good image. You need to be planning and preparing. You need to be out of bed and hiking up that mountain before anybody else. You need to know your subject and learn when those magical conditions are likely to happen.
The same vision of photography is described throughout his book, complete with stories and photos from his travels. I am sorry to say I enjoyed the book slightly less than his videos. The writing style is a bit too direct – though I guess I shouldn’t expect a talented photographer to be equally talented in everything else he does – and overall the book rather short. Even so I discovered new fun and inspiring stories and photographs. Perhaps the most interesting chapters are describing how Thomas started using social media and YouTube in particular to make his work known to a wider audience, a lesson that should be learned by more photographers, especially introverts. I’ve also learned that the splash-screen of the Flickr mobile app is one of his photographs (the same as the cover of this book), something I wouldn’t have noticed if not pointed out by him. Overall a good, fast book; if you’re not inclined to buy it from the Kindle Store, I recommend you at least check out Thomas’ videos, you will not be disappointed.