How the outdoors inspires me to take epic photos
By Eleanor Marshall
I’m Eleanor, when I’m not sat in a lab studying viruses, you can find me throwing myself in lakes, yomping up hills or cycling through soggy forests, up to my eyeballs in mud – all documented on Instagram, of course. Being out in nature is such an integral part of my life and I take every chance I can get to enjoy the world’s wild playgrounds.
I love photography. But I will never be a great photographer and I’ll tell you why. I don’t set off with the sole intention of getting THAT shot. I rarely, if ever, even have a certain picture in mind. I don’t study the weather, the light. I don’t wake up at 5am to drive to a spot to catch the perfect sunrise on my camera. Instead, I wake up at 5am to throw my outdated, overly huge rucksack on my back and head out. Out there. Wherever there may be. I grew up in Yorkshire with woodland, the River Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool canal right behind my house. The Yorkshire dales just a hop away, the Lake District, a leap. Then I moved to the Netherlands, not a wild place, but a place of endless fields and waterways, sand dunes and freezing seas. Then Sweden, well Sweden was a different story. I thought I knew forests, I thought I knew cold, but I was wrong. There. You know where. Everyone has their own there.
My pictures of there are unplanned, simply taken along the way as I feel the cold morning air on my skin, the thin light on my face and hear my heartbeat harder and faster as my feet plod ever onwards. Photography, to me, is secondary to my sheer love of existing in incredible, remote playgrounds of nature. I want to capture what I experience as I teeter across iced-over rivers, battle through oppressive forests, try to catch my breath as the wind tries equally hard to steal it away atop some godforsaken peak. To capture how it is to lie all alone in the dark, listening to the night-time twig snappers snapping their twigs in concert with the crackling of my dying fire, feeling completely, totally and entirely content.
In short, I don’t just want to look at my pictures and see beautiful places. I want to look at my pictures and feel beautiful things. Remember beautiful times. Look forward to the next beautiful adventures. Out there.
So, if you’re new to outdoor photography, or a committed THAT shot hunter – next time why not try just heading out with an open mind and an empty SD card, not thinking of how best to get a perfect picture, how best to edit it, how best to caption it, or how best to make it appeal to your followers, but thinking how best to capture the moment, the feeling, the memory. Just for you.