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Sarah Marino (Nature Photo Guides)
Works at Nature Photo Guides
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Thanks to +Angela King-Jones for featuring a few of my photographs and an accompanying write-up in her great Intimate Landscapes group. :) 
Intimate Landscapes Google+ Group Post 
Written by Sarah Marino

My experience as a photographer would be far less fulfilling if I did not spend a significant amount of time on photographing intimate landscapes (which I define simply as smaller scenes, often vignettes of interesting natural subjects, pulled together through interesting compositions or a focus on details, textures, and patterns). For my own photography, an intimate landscape subject can be as large as a section of sunlit sand dunes or as small as tiny plants growing on the side of a canyon in Zion National Park. I also appreciate the depth and variety that intimate landscapes bring to my portfolio, offering a more complete view on the places I visit and photograph. 

Aside from the resulting photographs, I find the meditative experience of wandering around and photographing intimate landscapes to be particularly relaxing and rejuvenating. As someone with a busy mind, I seek out these moments of intense yet contemplative focus because I might not experience them otherwise. I also find that working on intimate landscapes has honed my photographic eye. I notice so many more intriguing natural features than I did when I focused more exclusively on grand landscapes. I also find that my appreciation for places is enhanced when I spend time getting to know a place on a more personal level. Roaming around for a few hours, photographing all the details I can find, helps me understand the plants, geology, and other natural features of a place in a much more meaningful way. 

When teaching others about photographing intimate landscapes, one of the common struggles seems to start with finding subjects to photograph.  Below, I share a few things that might be helpful in developing an eye for intimate landscapes and increasing your success. 

• Slow Down Your Pace – Based on my own experience, I think a slow pace is essential when photographing intimate landscapes in most cases (the ability to react to serendipitous moments is important, too!). Wandering around a place, with no agenda and timeline, allows time for exploration, experimentation, and an opportunity to identify the natural features that are most interesting to your eye. 

• Hone Your Visual Exploration Skills and Strive to Notice Details – While noticing details is an important skill for any nature photographer, I think it is an essential skill to develop and hone for anyone interested in seeking out intimate landscapes. When out in nature with your camera, look up and down, in front, behind, and side to side. Take time to study what you are seeing in terms of the actual subject matter and how it might be affected by things like weather or atmospheric conditions, light, and season. Although I cannot remember the source, one of the early books I read on photography encouraged an exercise that I find fitting for this discussion. Next time you are outside with your camera, choose a location that is 30 x 30 feet and challenge yourself to make 20 intimate landscape photographs before moving out of that space. While the first few will probably be easy, the subsequent photos will require you to try new things, experiment, and look for details that you might not have otherwise noticed. 

• Learn to Identify Abstract Forms – The photos I have included with this article all contain quite literal subjects – trees, waves, badlands, and a desert playa. The photos also demonstrate the abstract qualities of these same subjects, like curves, lines, repeating layers, rounded mounds, patterns, and textures. Learning to see these abstract qualities in a scene can help in identifying subjects and improving the composition of the resulting photographs. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this brief article and view my photos. If you find this subject to be of interest, you might also enjoy an ebook I co-authored with my husband and fellow photographer, Ron Coscorrosa, entitled Beyond the Grand Landscape (link: If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of these points further, please share a comment below. 
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A lovely image of #Iceland  from Ian Plant.  I love the soft colors here (my favorite kind of light). 
Frozen ice in the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, Iceland. Seen lots of snow and ice during my trip to Iceland, although I was enjoying 50+ degree weather today! P.S. Check out the Winter Iceland Photo Tour run by Rich Bernabe through our company Epic Destinations:
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Sazu Singh's profile photo
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This looks like such an interesting place!
Rainbow sandstone swirls together to create a striking range of mountains in the northwestern province of Gansu, China. Check out more jaw-dropping photos from My Modern Met:
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Steve Cole's profile photoSarah Marino (Nature Photo Guides)'s profile photo
+Steve Cole  - Even without the over-cooking, this looks like a really interesting place.  The stripes make them different from any badlands I have visited.  
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We just got back from a week in Death Valley National Park and enjoyed some nice conditions (this photo is from a few years ago). If you are planning to head to the park early next year, Zabriskie Point will be closed through the end of April. The NPS is rebuilding the overlook because the wall is deteriorating and it is dangerous for visitors. You may still be able to access the Zabriskie area via hiking the Golden Canyon or Gower Gulch Trails, depending on where the NPS cuts off access. Just FYI!
Marc Briggs's profile photo
Thanks for the head's up.  
I'm excited to be heading out to DV this weekend after dinner Thursday :-)
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My latest post for +Ian Plant Dreamscapes blog... Considering our very dry spell with "good conditions" over the last year and a half, I talk a little about how eliminating expectations for trips has made them more enjoyable and photographically productive for me. The post includes a few photos from our recent fall colors trip in Colorado, too.
Photographer Sarah Marino, author of Beyond the Grand Landscape, writes about how her fall photography improved by letting go of expectations for pre-conceived
Brian Rueb's profile photoSarah Marino (Nature Photo Guides)'s profile photo
Thanks for the comment, Brian.  I appreciate it!
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+Ron Coscorrosa and I are excited to be joining +Richard Bernabe as associate instructors for his 2015 Epic Iceland photo tour. Richard and +Ian Plant recently started Epic Photo Destinations and have a great line-up of workshops for this year and next year. If you are looking for a photo adventure, you should take a look at their schedule: You can learn more about the Iceland tour at the same link. Fall colors + possibility of aurora + incredible landscapes should all make for a great trip!

  #iceland   #icelandphotography    #landscapephotography  
Brian W. Downs's profile photoDominique Dubied's profile photoBetty Wiley's profile photo
such a beautiful capture as is the rest of your work.
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Happy Monday! For the first time in years, I have time to slow down... No urgent work projects or ebooks to write, just time to catch up on the things I have been wanting to do like write more and process photos from trips that fell through the cracks.

Looking through the photos from a two-week trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauai was so much fun that I processed all of the photos I liked from the trip and will be sharing them over the next few weeks. This is from Waimea Canyon. The bright green trees add such a nice contrast with the red rocks, and we were lucky to have some really dynamic weather on this particular day. #landscapephotography   #hawaii   #kauai  
Shahid Gondal's profile photo
Vsre nice
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A recent post from our blog with some thoughts on photo consumption, conformity, and copying in #landscapephotography . Thanks for reading. #photography  
I will start out this post with an important note.  This is not a rant due to sour grapes or feeling left out of the clique of popular kids.  When I was posting regularly on 500px, my images often made it to the front page and even filled the top slot on the site on a few occasions.  I am also not intending to criticize or offend any individual photographers who are active on 500px but am instead commenting on the negative culture that ...
Daniel Schwabe's profile photoSarah Marino (Nature Photo Guides)'s profile photo
+Daniel Schwabe Re: Bruarfoss - yes, I did but have not read it yet.  Thanks for sending!
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We have been hanging out in the wonderfully warm weather of the California deserts for the last few weeks, including some time at Joshua Tree National Park. A few photos and a bit about our time in the park can be found on our travel journal blog here:
Jay Dee's profile photo
Jay Dee
mee  too
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I occasionally pull together a blog post with some reading recommendations for landscape and nature photographers. Here is my most recent list with links to posts about some of the negative aspects of the 500px photo-sharing site and larger implications for landscape photography, building a creative business with integrity, emerging legal issues related to photographing on public land, and a few more. Hope you enjoy a few of these reads as much as I did. #landscapephotography   #naturephotography   
I enjoy reading photography blogs and related publications, with many serving as excellent sources of inspiration and thought-provoking ideas that I use to help shape and inform my own work. The following six articles have stood out over the last few weeks in their discussion of important topics for landscape photographers. One thread that weaves many of these selections together is the question of motivation and what drives a photogr...
Sarah Marino (Nature Photo Guides)'s profile photo
Your point at the end is an especially good one.  I am finding more and more that I liked photography a lot more before trying to make it into a business.  Thanks for the comment. 
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Hillside Layers. I have photographed this scene a few different times but I liked it much more this year.  The somewhat bare trees added an interesting detail that I had not seen before.  Gunnison National Forest, Colorado. 
Victoria Winningham's profile photoDominique Dubied's profile photoali moon's profile photo
عشق الطبيعية جمال النفس والقلب
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+Matt Payne has pulled together a great list of Colorado-based photographer (and I appreciate being included!).  So many inspiring photographers represented here...
I've updated my "Top 20 Colorado Landscape Photographers" article with a few new names and ranks. Take a look and let me know what you think! Shout outs to +Colby Brown, +Rick Louie, +Sarah Marino, +Kane Engelbert, +Jack Brauer, +Nate Zeman, +Mike Berenson, +Grant Collier, +David Kingham, +Stan Rose, +Dan Ballard, +Koveh Tavakkol, +Erik Stensland, +Stephen Weaver!
An article showcasing the best 20 Colorado landscape photographers as chosen by the author. Kane Englebert, Jack Brauer and Nate Zeman top out on this comprehensive and impressive list of excellent photographers.
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Matt Payne's profile photo
Glad you like the list +Sarah Marino !
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Landscape Photography of the American West
Traveling North America in our Airstream trailer.  Photographing the landscapes along the way. 

Along with Ron Coscorrosa, I have written three photography e-books

Thanks so much for taking the time to view and enjoy my photography!
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Landscape + Nature Photographer
  • Nature Photo Guides