008 - Learning from the Masters Part 2

Travel & Adventure Photography School

23-03-2020 • 19 mins

Welcome to episode 8 of the podcast! This is part 2 of our Learning from the Masters series. This week we are learning from the masters of outdoor film photography.
This was a hard list to compile, to narrow it down, the photographers had to match 3 criteria.

  • They are no longer with us.
  • They did most of their work in the pre-digital era.
  • They focused on outdoor and travel pursuits.

Photographers we talk about in this episode. This is by no means an exhaustive list. It’s a starting point to get you going on your own learning.

Today we talk about four tips that these masters of photography can teach us to make our travel and adventure photography better.

  • Exploration
  • Detail
  • Preparation
  • Participation


  • True masters of outdoor and travel photography all have one thing in common, they explored. They spent thousands of hours on their feet seeing areas.
  • Move around an area. Get to know how it feels. This will come across in your images.
  • Ansel Adams was particularly famous for this. He walked all over the national parks in the states, finding the perfect angles for his photographs. He had a love for the land that you can feel in his images.


  • Look for large, sweeping landscapes that are incredibly highly detailed. This is what Ansel Adams was known for. His images are incredibly detailed and they draw you into these amazing landscapes.
  • But there is another way to photograph nature. Look for the small, little details.
  • The work of Brett Weston is an amazing example of this. He gives us little snippets of landscapes, like trees and grass in unique patterns and unique shadowing. He reminds us to look for the small details in your scenes.


  • Look up where the light will be hitting your subject and at what time of day you will need to be there.
  • Galen Rowell was a master of preparation. He would spend hours waiting for the light to illuminate his subjects just right.


  • One of the biggest things that Rowell can teach us is to be a part of adventures. You can see that he had a true love for what he was photographing. But beyond that, he knew his subjects because he was a part of what they were doing.
  • What this shows is that we can’t just photograph people enjoying themselves travelling, or skiing, or adventuring, but we have to be right in the heart of it ourselves. We need to be able to be a part of the experiences we are photographing. This also means you understand the subject you are attempting to capture much more deeply, and thus you are able to anticipate moments. This allows you to create deeper and more impactful images.


  • He combines a bit of everything we have talked about here and today is famous for his night time photos of Paris.
  • His images are filled with subtle shapes only perceptible under the dim and dark night light, which is why his work is considered a great study of shape.

To Consume:

  • Observe the prints of Brassai and Adams or Rowel

To Create:

  • Pick a subject and get to know it very well. Choo

Find all the show notes, connect with Robert, or book a session by following the links below.
Website: robertmasseyphotography.ca
Instagram: @robertmasseyphotography