Inspired by the likes of Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham, these photographers are pushing the boundaries of modern landscape photography
#1: Marc Adamus | @marcadamus
Considered one of the most influential landscape photographers in the world, Marc Adamus is over a decade in the photography business. He aims to capture the changing moods and emotions that he sees in nature, and judging by his rise to success, he has certainly achieved that through his spectacular images.
His passion for the outdoors is what led him to photography in the first place, and what has sustained his career since then. Having worked for National Geographic, Apple, and the Wilderness Society (among many others), Marc has entranced the world with his majestic interpretations of the wildness.
“How we see is a very personal thing. To this point, I believe a great photograph is not merely documenting the scene at hand, rather it is about fusing the essential vision of the artist with the landscape.” – Marc Adamus
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Marc is also passionate about getting others passionate about photography! His popular photography tours are offered through his website here.
#2: Alex Strohl | @alexstrohl
Alex Strohl isn’t a fan of meticulously planned photos. Preferring to capture his travels spontaneously, Alex’s goal in photography is to show the world through his eyes as authentically as he can. To do this, he will search the landscape for unexpected photo opportunities – not always focusing his lens on the most conventionally breathtaking view.
He got his love for the outdoors from his forest engineer father, who gave him a book called ‘L’eau, c’est la vie’. This book in particular inspired Alex to capture the outdoors through photography, and to this day, he tries to include water in his work as often as he can.
“I like photography because you bring things back. If I go on a trip without a camera, that’d be torture because I couldn’t bring anything back. One wise man once said to me, “When you’re on your deathbed, the only thing that you’ll have left is your memories”.” – Alex Strohl for dailymotion.com
Although his current home is in Whitefish, Montana, Alex and his partner Andrea spend most of their time travelling and photographing their adventures around the world. Check out Andrea’s Instagram here, and their co-founded creative agency Stay and Wander here.
David Wöckinger’s delicate, airy photography makes him one of our favorite up-and-coming photographers. With his established Instagram aesthetic, increasingly more followers are joining his dedicated fan base, eager to see his next creative work.
David’s photos are easily recognizable. One technique that he has mastered is using poor weather conditions to his advantage, leaving natural filters over his images. Often, his photos will incorporate clouds and fog which contribute to his dreamy, washed-out aesthetic.
Living in Austria, he is an expert at capturing the intricate beauty of snowy mountains, which comprise a majority of his work. However, after a recent trip to Italy, David has proven his talent in all landscape photography – architectural, coastal, and cityscapes. Within each genre, he manages to maintain the elegant photo quality that his fans have come to know and love.
Despite only joining Instagram last year, David already has 15k followers. He proves that if you find your style and work hard to develop and mature within it, the rest will follow.
After watching Michael Shainblum’s incredible time-lapse videos, it is easy to understand his rise to popularity (clocking in at 447 followers on Instagram). He is a master at capturing dramatic landscapes, be it on video or a single shot.
Focusing mainly on the US, especially his home state of California, Michael especially enjoys night photography. His images capture the many details of the night sky perfectly, and these photos particularly have defined his style as a fine art landscape photographer.
“A photographic style isn’t something that is manufactured out of nowhere. It’s something that is shaped over time, by our interests, inspirations and experiences. It’s how we show who we are as individual artists.” – Michael Shainblum
His photos don’t often have people, but sometimes he will include a tiny silhouette in the distance. This adds perspective to the shot, as well as a human element that helps to make the shot more humbling than if the figure wasn’t there. This tip was found on Michael’s website, where he offers tutorials and presets, as well as shooting techniques and his personal tips and tricks.
Our next photographer is redefining the boundaries of photography. A self-proclaimed ‘conservation photographer’, Cristina Mittermeier founded the ocean-protection organization Sea Legacy, as well as ILCP (International League of Conservation Photographers).
Her passion for environmental stewardship is blindingly obvious in her photography. Take a look through her Instagram feed and you’ll find that her work is not limited to landscape photography, but spans several genres; wildlife, documentary, photojournalism… Each photo is powerful in its own way, and there’s a purpose behind all of Cristina’s work, often discussed in the captions of her photos.
Her photos often display stark contrast, with the main subject of the image taking full precedence over a minimalistic background. By singling out the subject in this way, Cristina sends strong messages about climate change and environmental protection through her photos.
For those who underestimate the influential power of photography, Cristina demonstrates the remarkable ability of photos to inspire change in others.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Michael Bollino’s stunning photography has amassed thousands of fans on Instagram and 500px. His work focuses mainly on the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, documenting the untouched beauty of North America.
Michael’s photos have vibrant tones, with the rich colours of the mountain peaks and rainforest waterfalls enhanced by his expert post-processing work. Sweeping vistas feature strongly in his work, and his love of sunsets and star-spotted skies lend a dramatic feel to his images. His photos often show little evidence of human trespassing, and coupled with the breathtaking natural landscapes he captures, Michael’s work will surely inspire you to experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest for yourself.
“When a shoot is going really well, a sort of flow state develops where there is little need for thought or reason. It’s more a matter of sensing everything, then reacting to that input.” – Michael Bollino for Aperture Academy
Michael offers in-field workshops and post-processing sessions in Portland for all experience levels through his website here.
#7: Julian Calverly | @jccalverly
Julian Calverly’s artistic beginnings were in the world of landscape watercolour paintings, and that painting background shows through in his photography.
You’ve likely seen photos taken by Julian but not known it – his portfolio boasts numerous photos commissioned for international companies. The likes of Honda, The Wall Street Journal, and Kodak have all featured Julian’s photos in their marketing campaigns. Along with his commercial work, Julian has also published a book of images taken with his iPhone, called #iPhoneonly.
The slightly blurry effect found in many of his photos blends the colors of the scene together and produces a dreamy, nostalgic feel to his work. Often, he will also overlay a vignette to contribute to this cinematic quality of his images. One scroll through his Instagram and you’re transported to the moody countryside of England, unsure of the era in which the photos were taken due to the timelessness of Julian’s photography.
“I simply love being out in the places I photograph. Landscape photography is my soul food.” – Julian Calverly for iphonephotographyschool.com
Edward Burtynsky’s photography is both beautiful and shocking at the same time. Looking through his portfolio, you will find skilfully composed aerial shots of oil and tar sands, polluted rivers, and clear-cut forests, all bluntly displaying the detrimental effect that man has on the natural world.
An environmentalist at heart, Edward’s self-proclaimed purpose is to educate the public on the reality of environmental destruction. Through his photography, he accomplishes this remarkably beautifully. Edward’s talents have not gone unnoticed – among his many achievements, he is a Governor General award-winner, Officer of the Order of Canada, speaker at TED, and his images have been featured in National Geographic and the New York Times, among many others.
He recently returned from Kenya where he documented the burning of ivory products, to symbolize Kenya’s official opposition to illegal wildlife trade. Assignments like this allow Edward to continue to inspire those hoping to marry their passion for environmental stewardship and photography.
Simon Roberts studied Human Geography at university, and brings that knowledge to his photography today. His photos are often taken from elevated positions, and contrast a vast landscape with the very tiny people who inhabit it.
His clear and detailed images explore the relationship between the natural landscape and mankind, and challenge our identity with respect to the places we live and visit. Looking through Simon’s photos, you can’t help but think about how insignificant humans really are in comparison to the world.
“(Becoming a photographer) is about patience and ideas; ideas are your currency.” – Simon Roberts for Photofusion
Simon began his career in editorial photography for magazines, before taking a step back to focus on his personal photography work. He has produced 3 books – Motherland, We English and Pierdom – which have all received critical acclaim.
#10: Jamie Justus Out | @jamieout
With 100k followers on Instagram, world-traveller Jamie Justus Out knows how to take a stunning photo. An avid traveller and resident of the Pacific Northwest, Jamie captures the lakes, mountains and forests of North America in all their serene beauty.
Recently selected as the One2Watch for Canon Canada’s recent campaign, Jamie’s photography is just beginning to gain recognition. His style can be described as serene, highlighting the tranquil lakes, mountains and forests of the Pacific Northwest.
“I take my time to scout out the location, try looking at things from a different perspective and think about what it is that I want to shoot before I set off. I’m not the spray and pray kind of guy.” – Jamie Justus Out for storyofmyworld.com
He especially enjoys playing with reflections in his work, and often features his friends in his images, looking up in awe at the scenery. With his photography, he hopes to inspire his audience to get out and experience nature’s beauty for themselves.
#11: Josef Hoflehner | @josefhoflehner
Unlike many of the snap-happy Instagram photographers today, Josef Hoflehner knows the importance of waiting for the perfect shot. For one of his projects, fittingly titled ‘Patience’, he and his son Jakob would wait for weeks or more to achieve the right shooting conditions for each photo.
“I consider my work to be very aesthetic, so if there are aesthetic problems with the subject, light or weather, I don’t take the photo.” – Josef Hoflehner for Rangefinder
His persistence certainly pays off. Josef’s photos are incredibly moving, and invoke deep feelings of solitude even with his bustling city-scapes. He often shoots vast landscapes, and he credits this fascination with distant horizons to growing up in small, landlocked Austria.
Josef’s photos have achieved international recognition, most notably his project titled ‘Jet Airliner’ which depicts airplanes flying close to the beach of St. Martin in the Caribbean. Much of his work is in black and white, including ‘Jet Airliner’, which focuses your attention on his unbelievable gift for composition. Recently, however, Josef has ventured into color photography, and the results are equally as impressive.
#12: Stephen Matera | @stephen_matera
Stephen Matera got into photography the way most of us do – picking up the camera to record the best moments in life. On weekends, Stephen would climb mountains with friends, ski with his family, and enjoy the best of the great outdoors. What started as an accessory on these excursions, his camera soon became the purpose to venturing outside on his days off. Now, as a professional photographer for almost 20 years, Stephen Matera is a seasoned hand at landscape photography.
Based in Seattle, most of his photos display the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. His skilled post-processing techniques bring out the vibrant colors of the temperate rain-forest and snow-capped mountains, and his attention to light and detail make his Instagram feed a delight to scroll through.
As well as landscape photography, Stephen shoots sport and lifestyle photography, often for big-name companies such as New York Times and Kelty. Those photos are just as enjoyable to look at, and Stephen acknowledges that his beginnings in landscape photography helped shape his approach to sport and lifestyle photography.
#13: Julien Grondin | @beboy_photography
Our next photographer can help your photography skills reach the next level at the same time as providing beautiful inspiration with his own photos. Julien Grondin (aka beboy_photography) has 15k followers on 500px, 37k followers on Instagram, and 48k followers on Facebook, for good reason.
Julien challenges the traditional notion of a landscape with his urban landscape photography – in other words, his cityscapes. Much of his work covers his home country of France, with beautiful depictions of Paris and Mont Saint-Michel. However, a self-professed world traveller, Julien has also captured the major cities of Italy, USA, Canada, China, among others.
Many of his photos play with perspective, be it glittering tower blocks in Hong Kong or colorful lavender fields in Provence. Along with his intimate understanding of composition, it is easy to understand how Julien has built a dedicated fan-base on social media.
Julien has a very informative website offering a series of post-processing tutorials, for both Lightroom and Photoshop. He also includes free downloads, for example a free download of his one-click Instagram photo editing preset.
#14: Chris Burkard | @chrisburkard
At only 31 years old, Chris Burkard has accomplished more than most of us hope to in our lifetimes. A traveler, surfer, thrill-seeker and photographer, Chris ventures to the furthest corners of the planet to create the awe-inspiring images he is known for.
His speciality lies in wild and untamed landscape photos, through which he hopes to inspire others to get out and experience the world for themselves. Chris’ work often features rough ocean waters, expansive skies, and beautifully contrasting colour tones.
His surf photography is what he’s arguably most known for, comprising his most popular sport and landscape images. One of his most recent projects culminated in a documentary ‘Under Arctic Skies’, following his experience surfing in the Arctic.
By challenging the status quo with his surfing locations, Chris hopes to challenge the idea that surfing is a tropical-country-only sport. Beyond that, he hopes that his photography persuades others to get out of their comfort zone and travel as much as possible, as discussed in his TED talk here. He also offers a photography course to help others pursue their dream as he did – ‘The Outdoor Photography Experience’ through creativelive.com.
“Photos are the best journal you could ever have of your life. That’s what pushes me to work hard, the idea that photos allow people to escape.” – Chris Burkard for surfcareers.com
Power couple Todd and Sarah Sisson are truly inspiring photographers. With their two kids, Todd and Sarah have travelled their home country of New Zealand extensively, producing an outstandingly large collection of NZ photography by one photography team.
They began their photography journey in Canada before moving to New Zealand and creating a business together. Their depictions of New Zealand are dramatic and colorful, and their expert knowledge of light produces exceptional photos at sunset and sunrise, especially of New Zealand’s coastline.
“We love to photograph the wondrous and interesting things that present themselves before us as we wander through our very short and precious lives.” – Todd and Sarah Sisson
Along with canvas prints, calendars, postcards, and their book, Todd and Sarah also offer many Lightroom presets.
#16: Gabor Nagy | @gabornagy_photography
One of the lesser known photographers featured on this list, Gabor Naby is cementing himself in the world of landscape photography with his dark and dramatic photos. The perfect example of a photographer who has found his forte, Gabor’s work can be described as moody, yet breath-taking at the same time.
He recently traveled to Iceland and took full advantage of its spectacular scenery. His talent at uniting stormy skies, rough seas and jagged cliffs in powerful compositions has earned him a growing following on Instagram and Facebook. Gabor demonstrates how you can stick to one photography theme yet still produce fresh content and continue to explore new creative techniques.
“When I take a picture, it’s actually just the beginning of the process for me – that’s really when the canvas is blank. When I post process a photo, I think that’s where my photos really become unique.” – Gabor Nagy
Another reason that Gabor is growing in popularity is due to his photo captions. For each image, he gives a detailed description of the conditions of the location, a story behind the shot, or a gem of photographic advice he wants to share.
#17: Alex Noriega | @noriegaphotography
Alex Noriega’s fascination with the West Coast began on a trip from his hometown of Wisconsin to California. He vowed then to move out West and pursue solely landscape photography, and we’re glad he did!
Particularly skilled at night photography, Alex recognized early on the abilities of twilight to lend an ‘other-worldliness’ to photos. Overcoming the pitfalls of night photography at the beginning of his career (lack of light, position of the moon, exposure time etc.), he then branched out to shooting during the daytime, but still holds a soft spot for night photography.
“I enjoy the very deliberate, quiet nature of night photography. You often have all the time in the world to set everything up just so, and while waiting for a long exposure, you can simply enjoy the view overhead.” – Alex Noriega for apertureacademy.com
Many of his photos border on abstract – glacial ice, sand dunes, and a field of cracked ice on his Instagram feed are all momentarily unrecognizable. Experimenting with macro photography allowed him to apply this technique to his landscape photography, and the results are breathtaking.
#18: Max Rive | @maxrivephotography
Max Rive found his love for mountains after a trip to Switzerland, and from then on, he never looked back (or down!) again. With 1m followers on Instagram, Max is the most popular photographer on our list – not only is he the top photographer on 500px, but he also won the prestigious IPA award in 2015.
Max uses light to its full advantage in his photography, with many photos displaying the golden light of a sunset or sunrise over mountaintops. His post-processing brings out the rich colors of his landscapes, and he captures the beauty of each season in the mountains with exquisite detail.
“Find a subject to photograph which you truly love or enjoy doing. Finding is not the right word because it must be something which is already there with you. It doesn’t matter if it’s forests, mountains, cities, naked people or wild animals — you must like the subject just as much as the photography itself.” – Max Rive for 500px
If you want to get a behind-the-scenes tour of Max’s creative process, check out his photography expeditions on his website here. On these trips, Max and his team accompany you on a photographic tour of places like Lofoten, Patagonia and the Dolomites, and you can learn first-hand the method behind Max’s expert photography.
Under the moniker autumn_ethereal on Instagram, Alexandre Deschaumes’s evocative photography remains largely undiscovered. However, his atmospheric depictions of autumn are not easily forgotten, and his talent for original renderings of highly-photographed subjects lands him firmly on our list.
Originally a musician, Alexandre soon realized that he had a talent for another form of self-expression in addition to music – photography. With his ghostly photos of autumn among the mountains and forests of France, many in black and white or de-saturated, Alexandre’s control over his work is akin to that of a seasoned professional.
“Isolation has surely contributed to the shaping of my inner world… transforming these emotions into some form of beauty has become primordial.” – Alexandre Deschaumes
His book ‘Voyage Éthéré” (Ethereal Journey) and documentary film ‘La Quête d’Inspiration’ (The Quest for Inspiration) are available for purchase on his website.
#20: Antony Spencer | @antonyspencer
The unblemished coastlines of Dorset, the quaint villages of Lofoten, or the twisting rock formations of Arizona – there’s little subject matter that photographer Antony Spencer can’t or won’t capture.
Based in the UK, Antony first concentrated his efforts on shooting the beautiful landscapes of southwest England. His coastline photos are particularly impressive, capturing the softness of the sand as it melds into the ocean spray. Most of his photos contain this same softness, a trademark of his style.
Antony’s favorite photographic subject, however, is the Aurora Borealis. He has photographed this spectacle of nature in the UK, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland, and plans to keep capturing it for the rest of his life. In his own words, “watching the northern lights dance in the night sky will never grow old”.
Antony leads photography workshops in the UK (accessed through his website here) to guide other photographers hoping to capture photos as beautifully as he does.