Do you want to become a better landscape photographer? Better make The Resolution

Nov 8, 2020

Ole Henrik Skjelstad

Ole Henrik Skjelstad is a Norwegian math teacher and landscape photographer. He fell in love with photography in 2013 when he got a camera as a birthday present.

Do you want to become a better landscape photographer? Better make The Resolution

Nov 8, 2020

Ole Henrik Skjelstad

Ole Henrik Skjelstad is a Norwegian math teacher and landscape photographer. He fell in love with photography in 2013 when he got a camera as a birthday present.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

Romsdalen, Norway

Is there a secret formula for success? Is it a five-step program? Or perhaps even ten steps? What does it take? Will external motivation alone help you reach your goals? I don’t think so. I firmly believe that internal motivation or inner drive is the key to almost everything.

But, before we move on, what is success? Is it to have millions of followers on Instagram, or is it something different entirely? I will discuss that in more detail at the end of the article.

Two images

I will tell my story, and a good starting point is two of my images. This first image I shot back in 2013.

Tyrifjorden, Norway (*note the watermark)

Four years later, I captured this scene:

Romsdalen, Norway

What does it take to go from an image that almost no one noticed to an image awarded an Editor’s Choice award at National Geographic?

Inner resolution

I firmly believe there must be some inner resolution. That’s the first step. A quality decision which states: “I desire to improve, and I am willing to pay the price to do so.” This resolution rests on a foundation of honesty. Back in the day, I had to come honest with myself and admit that my work was found wanting and that I could do a lot to improve it.

As a math teacher, I have seen this principle in action many a time. It is easy to see when a student has made this inner resolution. The improvement is almost instant. Of course, I try to motivate my students, but external motivation doesn’t last and swiftly dwindle when the going gets tough.

I made this resolution in October 2013. I know it is the main reason behind any success I may have had.

Setting a goal

I also believe it is important to set a goal. For my students, it may be a grade that will qualify them for further studies. Back in 2013, I set the following goal for myself:

If I can produce one image that is good enough to reach 500px’ first page during my lifetime, I will be happy. And I was willing to pay the price knowing many hours behind the camera and the computer would be necessary to hone whatever little talent I had.

There are no short cuts. Instagram PODs, bots, spamming, always buying the newest gear — I honestly don’t believe any of that will make us better photographers. They are just tell-tale signs. I am afraid that we are not willing to pay the price.

I have found it immensely helpful to watch and read processing tutorials and study other’s work. Even repeatedly shooting the same subjects has led to progress. When we begin to learn new things, and our work slowly but surely starts to improve, the desire to evolve doesn’t fade. It pushes us onward, also through periods of frustrations, failures, and creative blocks.

What is success?

What I so far have written about success rests upon a limited and instrumental definition and understanding of the word. Depending on our ambitions, success can also be so simple as having found a hobby that enriches life and offers us plenty of moments of sheer fun. In this regard, photography definitely has been a success for me. What about you?

“I don’t think being good at things is the point of doing them. I think you’ve got all these wonderful experiences with different skills, and that all teach you things and make you an interesting person, no matter how well you do them.” (unknown)

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Ole Henrik Skjelstad

Ole Henrik Skjelstad

Ole Henrik Skjelstad is a Norwegian math teacher and landscape photographer. He fell in love with photography in 2013 when he got a camera as a birthday present.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 responses to “Do you want to become a better landscape photographer? Better make The Resolution”

  1. Malcolm Wright Avatar
    Malcolm Wright

    I totally agree, there are so few individuals who can achieve great work in any field, without inner motivation and putting the hours in that we have an often misused word to describe them.
    They’re called Geniuses and are so rare that if you ask anyone truly at the top of their field of work, ‘how did you get there?’ most will honestly answer ‘through xx years hard work’.
    I love the reference to not being able to buy success through gear.

  2. anthony marsh Avatar
    anthony marsh

    SKJELSTADT did not reveal the equipment used. Until he does one can merely speculate that it is digital with myriad devices to manipulate the image achieved. If he indeed does use a digital camera and it satisfies his desires that is his right. To my eyes having shot only film for 55 years the images presented in this article appear to have been manipulated by digital equipment and in my opinion imagery rather than true photography.

  3. Stakeout Avatar
    Stakeout

    great article.. striving to improve and to get better for me is personal especially with taking photos– many many photos.. not to impress others as many will do but more for self satisfaction knowing and seeing that I am accomplishing and reaching my goals.. one can only do more and keep on persevering towards those goals.. thanx again for sharing

  4. Adedotun Ajibade Avatar
    Adedotun Ajibade

    Thanks! This is a concise inspiration, with the footnote as a great closure.