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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely noticed that camera manufacturers constantly come out with newer, better, lighter, faster, snazzier cameras. And, while there’s no denying that the image quality of today’s cameras is astonishing, when you want to create striking and memorable landscape photos, is a new camera really where you should be spending your money? Because, when it comes down to it, a great landscape photo is the result of you being in the right place at the right time in order to press the shutter button. And it’s that moment that matters, whether you’re shooting with a modern technological marvel or a an ancient point and shoot.

Amazing Landscape Photo at Sunset

Amazing Landscape Photo at Sunset

In other words, if you want to capture amazing landscape photos, you should invest in experiences, not new equipment.

Let me give you an example: I took this photo in 2007 with a camera that was released in 2005 and it’s still one of my favorite photos and best selling prints.

Landscape Photo from backpacking trip to Marsh Lake.

Landscape Photo from backpacking trip to Marsh Lake.

What makes the image is not the camera I used but rather the light, the scene, and the magic of the moment. It was the fact that I invested my time, money, and energy into the experience of backpacking to this lake.

Similarly, I took each of these photos with various cameras that aren’t even manufactured anymore because they’re considered obsolete by today’s standards. And yet, they’re all photos I’m very proud to have in my portfolio, and which helped me build my career as a nature photographer. In each case it was the moment and the application of my creative vision that made the photo, not so much the camera I used. These photos are the result of seeking out beautiful experiences, not beautiful pieces of equipment.

  • Amazing Landscape Photography Example

    Breathless at Golden Hour

  • Vertical Landscape Photo from Coyote Gulch, Utah

    Vertical Landscape Photo from Coyote Gulch, Utah

  • Landscape Photo example of poppies in Mojave Desert at sunrise

    Poppies in Mojave Desert at Sunrise

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do believe that good gear is good and better gear can be better. But think hard about where you really want to invest yourself. If you only have a certain amount of money to spend, are you going to create memorable photos by buying a new camera or by spending that same money on the opportunity to photograph something that makes your heart sing?

Long exposure landscape photography from Wanaka, New Zealand

Long exposure landscape photo: The Wanka Tree, New Zealand

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to invest in the equipment AND the experiences, then more power to you. But if you have to choose between the two, the choice is clear. Because I guarantee you that when you look back at your photos years down the road, you’re going to remember those magical moments, not the box you used to capture them.

About Author Joshua Cripps

Joshua Cripps started making remarkable photos while he was still in the womb. His first significant image, titled Sonogram, was praised for its graininess, deliberate blurring of details, and gritty black and white mood. Earning two thumbs up from his parents, this photo only hinted at things to come. Since then Josh has won countless awards and accolades, including more than one “Certificate of Participation,” dozens of “Good Sportsmanship” plaques, and the coveted “Busy Bookworm” award. His mantel long ago collapsed under the weight of gold-painted, plastic trophies.

Currently Josh spends over 700 days every year in the field seeking out the finest landscapes on earth. He has a mighty beard and sings in a rich baritone. Hiking at least 45 miles to capture every photo, Josh ensures that every image he crafts represents the very heart of the wilderness. While you were reading this Joshua Cripps did 93 push-ups, won more awards, and became internationally re-renowned.