Landscape photography will change your life.
Our lives seem busier than ever. There’s the job, the traffic, the meetings. Our family and friends. There are bills to pay, hedges to clip, and garbage to take out. Sometimes it all seems a bit much, and the stress can be overwhelming.
So, we soothe ourselves with distractions like television, online shopping, social media, and YouTube.
It’s a strange phenomenon – sitting in our homes staring at screens. And on the human timeline, it’s a very recent thing, too. Telefunken released the first commercially made television in 1934. IBM launched the personal computer in 1981, and Apple’s first Mac hit the shelves in 1984.
The Internet went live in 1993, and Steve Jobs’ iPhone changed the world in 2007.
Now, thanks to all this, most people in western cultures spend between 23 and 24 hours a day indoors. Desk-bound employees spend as little as 15 minutes a day outside – about half the time it takes to calibrate the human circadian clock! Their body doesn't know if it's day or night.
And to add insult to stupidity, the air we breathe inside our homes and offices is 2-5 times worse than outside.
Daylight, fresh air, and contact with nature are each critical to our physical and mental health because, for 400,000 years, that’s where we spent most of our time, and our DNA hasn’t forgotten that.
We need to get back out there, and landscape photography offers the ideal excuse.
Beyond pulling us from of our screen-filled cocoons, landscape photography relaxes the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s main engine room – by forcing us to focus on the present, and on our immediate environment. It brings us back to where we belong – close to the elements that heal and sustain us.
But it’s so much more than that. Studies in Europe, the US, Japan and the UK have all concluded that simply looking at nature reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue, along with around 15 physical and mental diseases.
There’s a reason that patients with a view of nature heal faster than those without.
Paracelsus, the 16th-century German-Swiss physician, wrote, “The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician.”
When we stroll through nature instead of rushing past it in our cars, we ‘see' more, and we see differently. We feel more, too – the sunlight, the changes in temperature, the scents carried on a breeze, and the physical objects around us.
And whether we’re hiking to a location or just ambling about, it gets us moving – something all of us need.
It's cumulative, too. I’ve heard many definitions of success, but the simplest is, “Success is progress.” Through our camera, we're able to build a body of work, while our skills and artistic abilities accumulate and compound. Each experiment builds on the last; each image the sum total of our evolution up till that moment.
It stimulates the left and right brain, too, something that’s missing in so many jobs today. And when we're not creating images, it gives us something to think about, something to research and engage with through editing, self-education, location scouting, and gear maintenance.
Pick up a camera, go outside, and go make some images. It’s the perfect re-balancer, and it might just change your life.
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