I am often asked as part of casual conversation how I managed to be lucky and capture that image at that time in that place? The easy answer is that luck has nothing to do with it and it is all about planning. As a landscape photographer to be successful you need to plan. Planning consists primarily of picking a location, choosing a time and selecting gear.
"luck has nothing to do with it and it is all about planning"
Picking a location can involve studying maps, looking at tide charts, and pre-scouting. When leaving ones home we must avoid areas of active logging, venues that are the focus of civil unrest and large gathering of infectious or otherwise talkative people. Knowledge of local conditions gained by years of misadventure is invaluable and why guides exist.
Choosing a time is important, arriving for sunset 15 minutes late is one of my superpowers. Optimal timing of light must be considered , weather gods appeased with the appropriate sacrifices, and seasonal variability addressed (can I actually cross that creek in spring during run-off). Seemingly trivial things, like the phase and position of the moon if one wants capture the stars, can completely ruin an image if not accounted for.
<p>Gear must be chosen based on the location and subject. Do I really need to haul that massive super-telephoto lens with me into the dense forest? The answer to that is yes because having a long lens prevents accidental sightings of beautiful or dangerous wildlife, and no because I want my back to work when I get home. Preparing gear can also be extended to things like having a full tank gas and properly inflated tires.
Once all of the preplanning is done and you have ventured out to your carefully selected destination at roughly the desired time. There is still more planning to be done. Compositions must be found, angles must be measure and predicting (and subsequent scramble to adjust for) the changing light conditions. Now that you have finally done all the planning all you need is a little luck to get a great shot.
"all you need is a little luck to get a great shot"
We work hard to be lucky in photography, occasionally luck happens and something comes to us, sometimes it is needed to get us going, but most often we need to
do the work before we can be lucky.
Get out and enjoy the pursuit of photography my friends.