Quote Series: Landscape and Nature Photography Quotes

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When it comes to photography genres, landscape photography is without doubt one of the most popular and one of the easiest to get started with. All you need is a camera with a lens (and perhaps a good tripod) and you’re set!

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean landscape photography (and getting that perfect image) is easy… far from it.

Luckily, we’ve put together a list of the best landscape and nature photography quotes to help take your landscape photos to the next level.

No matter what level of experience you’re at, these quotes from the greatest landscape photographers (and non-photographers too) will inspire you in your quest for that perfect image.

So without further ado, here are over 100 of the best landscape photography quotes… enjoy!

The Best Landscape Photography Quotes

Getting photographs is not the most important thing. For me, it’s the act of photographing. It’s enlightening, therapeutic, and satisfying because the very process forces me to connect with the world. When you make four-hour exposures in the middle of the night, you inevitably slow down and begin to observe and appreciate more what’s going on around you. In our fast-paced, modern world, it’s a luxury to be able to watch the stars move across the sky.

Michael Kenna

To be sure the landscape can’t run away, and yet I always fear that it may. [Sometimes] I must set up my tripod, so I worry that the landscape may disappear the next second and I don’t stop keeping an eye on it while I get prepared. Then, when pressing the shutter, I hold my breath. These moments are the greatest joys in my life as if I were undressing the most beautiful woman in the world – that is, if she will allow herself be undressed. If the photo is a success, it means that she was willing. If not, it has been a lovely dream.

Mario Giacomelli

I like photographing the English landscape in the winter, because it’s naked and it’s cold and it’s lonely, and I feel lonely doing it; and yes, I feel as happy as anything. There’s no politics, there’s no one saying: “get off my land!” No one’s pointing a gun at me. It’s almost as if I’m drinking from the flower, as if I’m drinking the pure nectar of freedom.

Don McCullin

Related: Don McCullin: Sleeping with Ghosts

Standing up here on the hill away from all humans – seeing these Wonders taking place before one’s eyes – so silently… watching the silence of Nature. No school – no church – is as good a teacher as the eye understandingly seeing what’s before it. I believe this more firmly than ever.

Alfred Stieglitz

When we tune in to an especially human way of viewing the landscape powerfully, it resonates with an audience.

Galen Rowell

Every photo I take is part of me, bearing testimony to who I am. When I photograph a landscape, the landscape is photographing itself through me. I embrace the landscape, become the landscape, and bear witness to the landscape. As I always say, all you can discover in the world is what you have inside…

Franco Fontana
franco-fontana-quotes
© Franco Fontana

Challenges of Landscape Photography

Everybody now has a camera, whether it is a professional instrument or just part of a phone. Landscape photography is a pastime enjoyed by more and more. Getting it right is not an issue. It is difficult to make a mistake with the sophisticated technology we now have. Making a personal and creative image is a far greater challenge.

Michael Kenna

The vast number of photographers, feeding on anything visible, overgraze the landscape the way cattle overgraze their pasture.

Wright Morris

The landscape is like being there with a powerful personality and I’m searching for just the right angles to make that portrait come across as meaningfully as possible.

Galen Rowell

A good photograph is usually uncluttered, usually will inform the viewer of something more than what it actually is, so it’s not a literal interpretation. A beautiful photograph would be something that is….Rather a difficult question really because a beautiful one would be, a lot of people would say, would be a scenic photograph which is not ordered or planned. You just come across it, a lovely blue sky, pretty pretty. But doesn’t have actually any pathos. No gravitas!

Charlie Waite

My goal is to interpret reality. Anyone can see the landscapes I photograph, but with my camera, I try to capture the details and features that the eye cannot see.

Franco Fontana

I remember when an editor at the National Geographic promised to run about a dozen of my landscape pictures from a story on the John Muir trail as an essay, but when the group of editors got together, someone said that my pictures looked like postcards.

Galen Rowell

Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment.

Ansel Adams
Landscape Quotes, Ansel Adams
Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California, 1960 © Ansel Adams Estate

Patience

When I have found a landscape which I want to photograph, I wait for the right season, the right weather, and the right time of day or night, to get the picture which I know to be there.

Bill Brandt

Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter.

Ansel Adams

People will never understand the patience a photographer requires to make a great photograph, all they see is the end result. I can stand in front of a leaf with a dew drop, or a rain drop, and stay there for ages just waiting for the right moment. Sure, people think I’m crazy, but who cares? I see more than they do!

Alfred Eisenstaedt

Very often people looking at my pictures say, ‘You must have had to wait a long time to get that cloud just right (or that shadow, or the light).’ As a matter of fact, I almost never wait, that is, unless I can see that the thing will be right in a few minutes. But if I must wait an hour for the shadow to move, or the light to change, or the cow to graze in the other direction, then I put up my camera and go on, knowing that I am likely to find three subjects just as good in the same hour.

Edward Weston

Different assignments, different places, require different approaches. Sometimes I take minutes in a location, at other times days. There are many places that I have returned to over several years. When I photograph, I look for some sort of resonance, connection, spark of recognition.

Michael Kenna

Over the years I’ve learned that there will always be something I’ll miss and that I’ll go on missing things. It’s not so much a philosophy of patience but more a philosophy of acceptance and even of humility! We are very, very insignificant but at the same time If you bring the right attitude to the situation, your chances of success are improved. It’s like the old golfers saying, “the more I practise, the luckier I get”. I think that’s very true in landscape photography!

Joe Cornish

Capturing Your Image

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.

Ansel Adams

You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn’t waste either.

Galen Rowell

Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.

David Alan Harvey

To see the Thing itself is essential: the quintessence revealed direct without the fog of impressionism… This then: to photograph a rock, have it look like a rock, but be more than a rock. Significant presentation – not interpretation.

Edward Weston

If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.

Jim Richardson

My own eyes are no more than scouts on a preliminary search, for the camera’s eye may entirely change my idea.

Edward Weston

A good photograph is knowing where to stand.

Ansel Adams

Related: Quote Series: What Makes a Good Photograph?

…with most of my photographs, the subject appears as a found object, something discovered, not arranged by me. I usually have an immediate recognition of the potential image, and I have found that too much concern about matters such as conventional composition may take the edge off the first inclusive reaction.

Ansel Adams

I gravitate towards places where humans have been and are no more, to the edge of man’s influence, where the elements are taking over or conveying man’s traces.

Michael Kenna

As a landscape photographer we should be open to possibilities, for one thing often leads to another.

Michael Kenna

I enjoy places that have mystery and atmosphere, perhaps a patina of age, a suggestion rather than a description, a question or two. I look for memories, traces, evidence of the human interaction with the landscape. Sometimes I photograph pure nature, sometimes urban structures.

Michael Kenna

This is the gift of the landscape photograph, that the heart finds a place to stand.

Emmet Gowin

I believe that there’s also a certain form of abstraction in my early landscapes: for example, I often show human figures from behind and thus the landscape as observed “through” a second lens.

Andreas Gursky

It’s possible to think of photography as an act of editing, a matter of where you put your rectangle pull it out or take it away. Sometimes people ask me about films, cameras and development times in order to find out how to do landscape photography. The first thing I do in landscape photography is go out there and talk to the land – form a relationship, ask permission, it’s not about going out there like some paparazzi with a Leica and snapping a few pictures, before running off to print them.

Michael Kenna
Landscape Quotes, Michael Kenna
© Michael Kenna

On Nature

I wish that all of nature’s magnificence, the emotion of the land, the living energy of place could be photographed.

Annie Leibovitz

The invisible is our foundation. Think of a centenarian tree: it lives thanks to its roots, which you cannot see. That is the kind of invisible I want to capture and describe. I want to interpret matter, reality. Like Michelangelo, I want to remove everything that is unnecessary.

Franco Fontana

[Weston calls photography] a way of self-development, a means to discover and identify oneself with all the manifestations of basic forms – with nature, the source.

Edward Weston

Nature does not create works of art. It is we, and the faculty of interpretation peculiar to the human mind, that see art.

Man Ray

Parks and gardens are the quintessential intimate landscapes. People use them all the time, leaving their energy and memories behind. It’s what’s left behind that I like to photograph.

Michael Kenna

Nature is a mirror in which I am reflected, because by rescuing this land from sad devastation [through recreating it in photographs], I am in fact trying to save myself from my own inner sadness.

Mario Giacomelli

Landscapes freed me from the emotional garbage that I was carrying. I could go out into the landscape and have no reason to have any moral thoughts. But in the end, while taking these photographs, I suddenly realised that, there, everything I was looking at had a political dimension too: dairy farms closing, more land being taken up for housing… So even my landscapes are political, and not just in Britain. My landscapes have also recently been incorporating the destruction of Palmyra and similar places, which are totally politicised.

Don McCullin
Somme, 1999
Don MccCullin, Somme 1999 © Don McCullin

The Importance of Light

I almost never set out to photograph a landscape, nor do I think of my camera as a means of recording a mountain or an animal unless I absolutely need a ‘record shot’. My first thought is always of light.

Galen Rowell

I knew, of course, that trees and plants had roots, stems, bark, branches and foliage that reached up toward the light. I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself – mysterious and ever-changing light with its accompanying shadows rich and full of mystery.

Edward Steichen

Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself.

Annie Leibovitz

I’m inviting the spirits into my photography. It’s an act of God.

Hiroshi Sugimoto

Related: Hiroshi Sugimoto: Capturing the Transience of Time

[What to look for in a photo] If I look at other peoples work there’s a little thing with me, if I see something about the lighting that moves me or lifts my spirit then that’s what I go for every time!

Joe Cornish

When the magic hour arrives, my thoughts center on light rather than on the landscape. I search for perfect light, then hunt for something earthbound to match with it.

Galen Rowell
Sunrise on the Tioga Pass, Galen Rowell. © Galen Rowell Estate

Quotes from Non-Photographers

Climb up on some hill at sunrise. Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you’ll find it there.

Robb Sagendorph

When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.

John Lennon

Many photographers think they are photographing nature when they are only caricaturing her.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Adopt the pace of Nature; her secret is patience.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, / There is a rapture on the lonely shore, / There is society, where none intrudes, / By the deep Sea, and music in its roar: / I love not Man the less, but Nature more.

Lord Byron

Art takes nature as its model.

Aristotle

Death, like birth, is a secret of Nature.

Marcus Aurelius

Do not be caught by the sensational in nature, as a coarse red-faced sunset, a garrulous waterfall, or a fifteen thousand foot mountain… avoid prettiness – the word looks much like pettiness – and there is but little difference between them.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We need the tonic of wildness… At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and un-explorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy.

Isaac Newton

I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time.

Joseph Beuys

Water is the most expressive element in nature. It responds to every mood from tranquillity to turbulence.

Walter J. Phillips
Landscape Quotes, Steichen
Moonlight: The Pond, 1906, Edward Steichen

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

John Muir

Humans! They lived in a world where the grass continued to be green and the sun rose every day and flowers regularly turned into fruit, and what impressed them? Weeping statues. And wine made out of water!

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

John Muir

A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.

Henry David Thoreau

God never made an ugly landscape. All that sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.

John Muir

The landscape belongs to the person who looks at it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you work outdoors be passive, go with the weather. This may mean two hours sheltering from a downpour, followed by a wonderful burst of sunlight and a rainbow.

John Newberry

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

William Shakespeare

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.

Albert Einstein

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.

Albert Einstein

The Earth is Art, The Photographer is only a Witness.

Yann Arthus-bertrand

Nature does nothing uselessly.

Aristotle, Politics

Nature has always had more force than education.

Voltaire

Landscape Inspiration from Painters

A painting is complete when it has the shadows of a god.

Rembrandt

I have not tried to reproduce nature: I have represented it.

Paul Cezanne

In each painting, I think, it’s as if  God were giving up on finishing the world.

Yves Bonnefoy

Truly, art is embedded in nature; he who can extract it, has it.

Albrecht Dürer

I devour nature ceaselessly. I exaggerate, I sometimes I make changes in the subject; but still I don’t invent the whole picture. On the contrary, I find it already there. It’s a question of picking out what one wants from nature.

Vincent van Gogh

It will be difficult to name a class of landscape in which the sky is not the keynote, the standard of scale, and the chief organ of sentiment.

John Constable
landscape-constable-quotes
The Hay Wain by John Constable © The National Gallery

When I look at nature I feel as if I’ll be able to paint it all, note it all down, and then you might as well forget it once you’re working…

Claude Monet

When you are painting a landscape, assume the painting is real and the landscape is an illusion.

Walter Darby Bannard

To select, combine and concentrate that which is beautiful in nature and admirable in art is as much the business of the landscape painter in his line as in the other departments of art.

J. M. W. Turner

Nature won’t be summoned to order and won’t be kept waiting. It must be caught, well caught.

Claude Monet

Related: Quote Series: Lessons from Master Painters

Choose only one master – Nature.

Rembrandt

The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.

Claude Monet

Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye… it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.

Edvard Munch

Experience has proved that there is no difference between a so-called realist painting – of a landscape, for example – and an abstract painting. They both have more or less the same effect on the observer.

Gerhard Richter

Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.

Vincent Van Gogh

There are no lines in nature, only areas of colour, one against another.

Edouard Manet

For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at any moment.

Claude Monet

We see nothing till we truly understand it.

John Constable

If one really loves nature, one can find beauty everywhere.

Vincent van Gogh

Water is the driving force in nature.

Leonardo da Vinci

Nature is not only what is visible to the eye – it also shows the inner images of the soul – the images on the backside of the eyes.

Edvard Munch

Have a Favorite Landscape Photography Quote?

Which quote was your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below. Have a favorite landscape quote that isn’t listed? Feel free to share below too.

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Founder of Photogpedia.com. Photography enthusiast, occasional filmmaker, part-time writer and full-time dreamer. Rediscovered photography in 2012 and have been trying to level up my photography skills since (I'm getting there) #chasingthecreative

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