New Tech Learning

Seeking inspiration, and a dash of knowledge

On Landscape: New Tech LearningAs a photographer interested in the creative process, I try to keep my eyes and mind open to diverse sources of inspiration. Most of these sources are visual in the form of books and browsing the Web. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts, and am finding that they’re an exciting source of both information and ideas.

The publisher of LensWork magazine, Brooks Jensen, offers one favorite podcast, LensWork: Photography and the Creative Process ( His commentaries cover wide-ranging and eclectic topics mostly related to fine-art photography. They’re succinct (5 to 10 minutes) and often humorous.

An impressive podcast I just discovered is Jeff Curto’s Camera Position ( Like the LensWork podcast, this commentary deals mostly with the creative process of photography. Although the author’s orientation isn’t focused on landscape photography, his presentation includes the images about which he’s talking, which adds a good deal to the educational value. Curto, a college photography professor, also publishes a podcast called Photo History.

Former OP associate editor Ibarionex Perello produces another podcast that I really like, The Candid Frame ( This is a series of interviews with photographic artists, including masters like Joel Meyerowitz and Pete Turner. Learning how photographers think about creating their images gives a greater depth of understanding about their images and often provides ideas for our own work. The website includes an interview I did with Ibarionex a few months ago



PHOTO NOTES: The photograph shown here is of the bark of a eucalyptus tree in Hawaii. It resonates for me because it’s both abstract and hyper-real. At first, it’s a mystery, and once the recognition of what it is kicks in, you can appreciate Nature’s "painting"—the texture and unbelievable color of this tree. I looked around the grove of trees seeking the strongest color and pattern. Using my 4x5 and a 360mm lens, I focused in on this area above the height of my head and used my modified 4x5 film holder that‚’s cropped to a 2:1 ratio. The rising lens standard of the view camera allowed me to maintain the perspective without convergence of lines.






As far as podcasts on the technical aspects of landscape photography, there are many that will help you with topics, from composition to working in Photoshop. One of the best sources is The Radiant Vista Podcast (, in part because one of the hosts, Craig Tanner, tends to blend technique and aesthetics. Besides audio podcasts, Radiant Vista offers PDFs and video tutorials that show the viewer image examples and computer screenshots that illustrate a process or technique. There are many podcasts on the use of software such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, or Apple’s Aperture. Many are video-based so you can see the applications themselves in action. The Photocast Network.

The website, a great source for online education, also broadcasts interviews with photographers such as Tony Sweet and Brenda Tharp. The BetterPhoto Radio Show ( also covers many subjects such as digital capture and digital darkroom techniques, travel, macro and composition.

I also use podcasts related to the environment and nature to continue my education on the source of my inspiration. I studied environmental issues in college and I want to stay current. My favorite source is National Public Radio, especially their Environment podcast: Other related podcasts can be found at and

Creating good photographs is a multilayered process that involves both passion for, and knowledge of, the subject. It also involves an ongoing dedication to the craft in terms of learning technique and keeping up with the rapidly changing advances in equipment. The bottom line, however, is always seen in the photographs.

If you think your images could be more exciting, meaningful or creative, then consider expanding your sources of inspiration. One never knows when ideas and concepts we pick up will surface into our creative work, but if we don’t continue to educate ourselves, we will certainly miss opportunities.

Note: I access podcasts via iTunes, where it’s easy to subscribe and unsubscribe to any podcast. Whenever I open iTunes, it updates those podcasts that I’ve signed up for with the latest editions. The links provided here will take you to the site’s home page where you can access and subscribe directly from the web. Visit


William Neill is a renowned nature and landscape photographer and a recipient of the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography. Neill's award-winning photography has been widely published in books, magazines, calendars and posters, and his limited-edition prints have been collected and exhibited in museums and galleries nationally, including the Museum of Fine Art Boston, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, The Vernon Collection and The Polaroid Collection. Neill's published credits include National Geographic, Smithsonian, Natural History, National Wildlife, Conde Nast Traveler, Gentlemen's Quarterly, Travel and Leisure, Wilderness, Sunset, Sierra and Outside magazines. He is also regular contributor to Outdoor Photographer with his column “On Landscape”.

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