Austrian Castle Hohenwerfen in Werfen, Salzburg in winter

Outdoors – Shooting in
Mother Nature can be very challenging

For me, nothing compares to shooting outdoors. It doesn’t matter where I am – in one of the great National Parks, on the edge of the Grand Canyon in the United States of America, in between the canals in Venice in Italy or in the mountains and traditional villages of Austria – as long as I am outdoors I am a happy photographer. Sure, I don’t find it always easy to shoot outdoors especially when some of the elements try to put obstacles in my way and make a great shot almost impossible. But I take on this challenge because to me this is part of the beauty of photography.
Werfenweng in Salzburger Land in winter

Challenges: “Too cold, too hot, too windy, too wet, too sandy, too early, too late…”
Outdoor photography is always what one makes of it. To capture the desired image can be effortless at times but also very much the opposite. Sometimes I hike a while with all my gear on my back for a single photo I had in mind. And trust me, a lot of blood, sweat and tears are involved when reaching for the stars or in my case for this special place where I intend to shoot this one beautiful image. Imagine the people traveling with me! I guess it sounds more fun as it is. Because also, when I’m shooting outdoors, I am always on the run. Stop and go for so many reasons, because the sun goes down too fast, the clouds are moving in too early, some raindrops I just felt or because I’m simply too late for the planned shoot. Bad timing and bad judgment on my part are something I have to deal with on a regular basis because of the lack of knowledge about the area. Yeah I know, I should be better prepared. And sometimes I am. But shooting outdoors is also a lot of fun and the outcome always rewards me somehow despite all the effort I have to put in. For me, outdoor photography is a bit like golf. Always out in the fresh air and always surrounded by the beauty of what Mother Nature lets us enjoy. There is also talent needed and patience. And, like in golf, you can have a bad day or a good day and it's not always depending on the weather.

Landscape, seascape, cityscape, wildlife, flora, city, street photography and so much more 
There are many fields within the outdoor photography. There are also many great photographers who specialize in one or several of these fields. Animal photography for example; wildlife photographers around the world are filling pages of magazines and books with their incredible images. One certainly has to be cut out for that. My friend and former journalist workmate from Salzburg/Austria, Michael Stadler, proved that he had what it took. Sadly the terrible sickness ALS took him away from us way too young in the spring of 2015. He was not only a brilliant writer but also a real genius behind the camera. We used to challenge each other and learned from each other. A few years before his death, he was fighting this horrible sickness, he went with his wife to Africa for a whole year, they drove a car from north to south. And as much as they could, far away from civilization. He brought back the most amazing animal shots I’ve seen for a long time. I'll never forget how he smiled when he told me about his wonderful adventures but also about the effort he had to make and the obstacles he had to overcome to get close enough to these beautiful animals in the wild. I saw the sparkle in his eyes when he explained to me how he captured all these wild animals all over Africa. He made sure I understood that this wouldn't have been the right thing for me by mentioning the snakes and spiders he saw – one bit him so bad that he had to go to the hospital – and not to forget all the bloodthirsty insects. I had a hard time already surviving Florida. When lions come really close or elephants in the open wild, your heart rate goes up like a rocket, he told me.  At times, he said, he was so excited that he had a hard time to hold his camera still enough for a good shot. And to get great shots of cool animals is not only dangerous at times but also a waiting game where patience, lots of patience, is a basic requirement. 

Photography doesn’t have to be a competition – Joining a photo club
So many great landscape photographers capture the beauty of our living space on earth so incredibly awesome that one could think why I bother to even try the same thing. The answer to that is very simple: because everybody has a different style, different angle and different circumstances. But other than that, there is no need to compete with other photographers. It’s not about who gets the best shot – and what is the best shot anyway? It’s about how do get a great shot in general! To join a good online photo club is a great way to see and learn from others without having the pressure to compete. Online photo clubs have a really diverse group of members, so for sure there is one for every field in photography who can give advice. 

There are many fields in outdoor photography and everybody is able to pick one or more. I haven’t picked a field for myself so far and honestly, I don’t think I ever will. The reason for that is simple: I don’t want to be restricted. Sure, there will be always photographers with more knowledge about certain fields they specialize in. But this doesn’t bother me. Quite the opposite. I am like a sponge when it comes to knowledge I’m interested in. I learn from great landscape photographers every day along with my photography journey. That's the reason I join some photo clubs as well. As I said, I don’t see photography primarily as a competition but as a hobby, a profession and a way to create art. 

For me, all fields of photography are exciting and challenging. Plus I want to have a taste of everything. There is one particular field in outdoor photography though I find very interesting: street photography! So many very talented photographers capture on a daily basis of our life in the cities around the world. How we live and how we go through life. With their great shots, they bring out what’s hidden from the shallow perspective. Every photo from a street photographer is not only a documentation of what happened but also a little piece of art. I haven’t even touched this field yet but I’m excited to step in one day.
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