2017 has been an absolutely incredible year. Not just that I have finally started to work as a teacher but also because I had the chance to visit a lot of beautiful locations and do what I like to do the most: landscape photography.
I would even say that 2017 was my favorite year in terms of photography.You might be wondering why especially 2017 was my favorite even though I have been to more exotic countries in the past? I would say it's because I have learned a lot over the past 12 months and took my photography to another level. Also I have won a few small competitions and can call myself Germany's best landscape photographer now.
One thing I usually do after a trip out with my camera is to reflect about my photography - I am trying to figure out mistakes I made and remember them so that I can make better next time. I want to share some of these insights with you as well from which you might even learn something.
The year has started with a personal highlight. Together with my girlfriend and 2 friends I had the chance to visit the famous Isle of Skye for the first time in my life in January, which was an unforgettable experience. Snow capped mountains, beautiful waterfalls and mind blowing sunrises made this trip to something I won't forget. Some of the main destinations on that trip were the Old Man of Storr, the Fairy Pools, Mealt Falls and Eilean Donan Castle.
What have I learned in January?
1. I should arrive at my sunrise location early!
I have made the mistake to leave the car park a little bit too late and made it just in time for the sunrise and I wasn't able to set up my desired composition or look for other interesting angles in advance.
In February 2017 we did a short 3-day trip to the Isle of Skye. The Highlands of Scotland are known for bad weather during the winter months. When we arrived on Skye we already expected the next few days not to be sunny which actually was beneficial for my photography as I was able to capture some moody images at incredible locations such as The Quiraing, Talisker Bay and Sligachan Bridge.
What have I learned in February?
2. There is no bad weather in landscape photography!
Some of my best pictures from the Isle of Skye were taken while it rained and storm clouds were passing by.
March 2017 was all about photographing around the area where I lived – Aberdeen. I ventured out to South Breakwater a few times which has immediately become my favorite location around Aberdeen. Since my girlfriend and I can’t stay home for too long without a short trip we decided to go to London for a weekend for some sightseeing and to shoot the iconic places again.
What have I learned in March?
3. It's amazing to know my local area and 'study' my favorite local location & cityscapes are great fun!
Spring time in Scotland and I wasn’t really able to go out a lot because of work – my girlfriend and I volunteered in a Camphill Community called Newton Dee. We supported people with learning difficulties in their everyday-life. Nevertheless, I took the chance to run my first 1to1 workshop to Glencoe. Tim and I had a great day out exploring the area. A weekend after we had a friend visiting us with whom we explored the central Highlands a little bit.
What have I learned in April?
4. Leading workshops is a win-win situation - something to be considered in the future!
May 2017 was my quietest month with photography. I had a bit of a creative struggle and wasn’t really in the mood to take photographs – probably because I don’t like shooting in summer really much. Anyway, I have still got a few images, especially from around the area where I stayed at.
What have I learned in May?
5. I sometimes have to forget about photography and enjoy life.
One of the highlights of the year 2017 was our 10-day camping trip to the Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides together with two good friends. Equipped with nothing but a tent and basic supplies we headed off for an amazing adventure and weren’t disappointed. We had amazing conditions with stunning sunsets and sunrises but I can definitely say that the animal I hate the most must be the Highland Midge! If somebody would have told me that the beaches on the Outer Hebrides (Isle of Harris/Isle of Lewis) are comparable to the ones in Indonesia and the Philippines I would not have believed him...
What have I learned in June?
6. Nothing beats camping in the wild and a midge repellent is never enough to protect myself from them.
The month of July was all about camping, again. My girlfriend and I took the famous North Coast 500 and ended up camping for a few nights at the most beautiful beach in Scotland – Sandwood Bay. An absolutely amazing experience and something which I will never forget!
What have I learned in July?
7. I always have to bring enough water to a remote location where I want to camp - otherwise I might need to walk back and forth.
August 2017 – back in Germany. My time as a volunteer had to come to an end because I still have to finish the practical part of my studies to finally become a fully certified teacher in Germany. August is also the month of my birthday – what would be a better present than a brand new Sony A7R and a Zeiss Vario-Tessar F4.0? Right, nothing much!
What have I learned in August?
8. Germany is beautiful and wild camping isn't allowed here.
September 2017 was all about exploring the areas around my hometown and getting to know these places better. I went on a camping trip with my parents, a short trip with my brother and managed to get started with my homepage.
What have I learned in September?
9. I need a tele lens!
October must have been my favorite month of the year. Not just that my girlfriend got her 3 month tourist visa for Germany granted but also that we went to the beautiful Italian Dolomites together - a place where we will return to! Other than that I was a finalist in a photography competition by Chip Foto-Video and Huawei and managed to win! Thanks again!
What have I learned in October?
10. I have to take my time with composing the image AND wait until the sunset is really finished!
Wow, this was a great month with a couple of amazing weekend getaways. We went to several destinations in Germany and Holland and just had a great time together.
What have I learned in November?
11. 3 things: 1st: a tele lens is amazing!; 2nd: manual focus is key for sharper images; 3rd: I've gotta invest in proper winter footwear!
I loved December! For the first time in my life I have really appreciated the snow and what it does to the landscape - simply beautiful. I fell in love with the Harz Mountains, I enjoy chasing these steam trains quite a lot now and my girlfriend repeatedly mentioned how much she loves Germany.
What have I learned in December?
12. I have learned to fly a drone and that landscape photography is truly about being at the right moment at the right time.
So this is it, 2017.
I still can't get over how fast the year has gone by and how many unbelievable locations I have visited. In retrospective I must say that the Isle of Skye in Scotland stands out for me this time, followed by the Italian Dolomites and the Harz Mountains in Germany.