When the alarm goes off at 2:45am, instinct says to hit the snooze button. It's not natural to wake up that early, drive an hour and a half, and snowshoe for 2 hours through fresh snow while racing the coming sunrise. When the forecast hints at the potential for a great sunrise, as a landscape photographer you do just that. When the new moon approaches and clear skies are in the forecast, you resist the urge to sleep through it, instead sacrificing sleep in order to capture the Milky Way. 

One of the things I love most about photographing landscapes is that it forces you to put yourself in situations you might not normally find yourself in. Getting up before the sun rises on your day off, or staying out late when you have to work the next morning is worth it to experience beautiful moments in nature.

Watching the way the first sun rays hit the side of a mountain top, or the stillness and reflection a lake brings before the wind picks up; tracing the Milky Way as it moves through the night sky or seeing shooting stars over a mountain peak; watching the fog roll in and out over a valley, obscuring the mountain until the moment of sunrise: these moments are why I get so much out of photography. These are things I wouldn’t normally have gone out of my way to see in the past, but have become some of my favorite memories now. While coming away with a photo I can be happy with is always one of my goals, its really second to the adventure and experience. 

One of the things that got me started originally in photography, and still holds true to this day, is the ability of a photo to immediately transport you back to the day, time, and place it was taken. The fleeting moments we get to experience in person live on in the images, and the memories those images evoke, for the rest of your life.

Sean Haselden