“Visualization” is not a new concept in photography, but it’s one often suggested to photographers. Ansel Adams popularized the idea, and you can watch Adams describe it himself in a video at The Ansel Adams Gallery’s website. “As we talk about photography,” Adams said, “we speak of the external event, which is, we’ll call it ‘scenery,’ it’s everything that happens outside in time and space…Contrasting with that, in the creative work, is the internal event, it happens inside your mind when you see the photograph.” He continued, “The whole key lies very specifically in seeing into the mind’s eye, which we call visualization.”

Traditionally, visualization in photography referred to not only the process of “seeing” the photograph in a scene but also understanding of how that scene would be translated when captured on film and then printed. In part two of Marc Muench’s article series, “The Art of Luminosity,” Muench explores visualization techniques in the context of modern photographic tools.

Muench also talks about “pre-visualization”—anticipating the conditions and planning a photograph accordingly. This practice is the centerpiece of Glenn Randall’s “Visualize. Plan. Shoot!” Randall begins with one of the fundamental questions he asks when capturing an image: “How could you make the best possible photograph of your subject?” As Randall explains, the answer might be in returning to the subject at a different time of day or time of year. To that end, Randall introduces us to the software he uses to plan a photo shoot in a particular location when a confluence of terrestrial and celestial events will produce his ideal conditions for the subject and scene. 

The importance of seasonal timing also runs through Rachel Jones Ross’ article, “Atmospheric Landscapes.” While bold foliage colors dominate our ideas about fall photography, it’s also a time of year to witness moody skies, fog and mist that can transform a scenic location into, as Ross describes it, “an ethereal dreamscape.” Ross recounts the stories and conditions that resulted in some of her favorite fall photographs showcasing the creative opportunities of the season.

On the cover is a photograph made by Marc Muench at the “Fairy Pools” on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Here’s the story behind the shot.

Outdoor Photographer October 2020 cover

“It is said that fairies bathe in the streams of Scotland, and if I were a fairy, I’d bathe here, too. Up in the Glenbrittle region of Isle of Skye, Scotland, is a very intriguing valley. The mountain-fed stream with crystal-clear pools and waterfalls makes for fantastic swimming—and photography.

“On the day we visited during one of our photography workshops, it was raining, so I did not spend much time considering a swim. With all the wet rocks and subtle colors created by the overcast light, the photography was compelling. The location can be found within a 20-minute walk across the rural countryside, and the trail is well maintained.

“This is one of many sublime locations on the Isle of Skye, but like other great spots, it can become crowded. I highly recommend visiting on a rainy day when there are no swimmers; be sure to bring your polarizing filter to cut the glare off the water. It rains a lot in Scotland in the fall, so your chances are good at this time of year.

“The compositions are endless, considering all of the interesting rocks, waterfalls and many pools carved out by eons of water erosion. The surrounding country is covered in thick, marshy grass that had begun turning color in October while we were there. If you end up visiting during the summer, I would suggest bringing a swimsuit.”

–Marc Muench

The October 2020 issue is now available in a variety of digital formats including Apple News+.

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