It’s so easy to take landscape photography for granted, as if the subject will be there anytime you want. I could come back to this lake for days on end in the fall and not get this shot again. There are so many dynamic elements that make it work. There’s the subtle fall color, that helps make the shoreline interesting. There is the gorgeous sunset and clouds. And most importantly, it was a dead calm night that left a mirror-smooth reflection on the water. Take away any of those three elements and this shot doesn’t work.
But that same dynamism also opens up so many opportunities. If you can envision a scene under different conditions, you can create much stronger compositions and get much more variety of images from the same place. There are of course seasonal variables to play with: spring may bring flowers, summer the Milky Way, fall colors, and winter’s snow can simplify or separate key elements of a scene. It’s likewise important to consider the weather beyond just the obvious sky: changing tides can completely change seascapes, wind can create beautiful sandstorms or prevent sharp flowers and trees, and recent storms can leave reflecting pools and full waterfalls.