Which is Better: Mountain Landscapes or Urban Photography?

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Let’s take a second to look at the difference in photography opportunities when moving from a small town in the foothills to Los Angeles. I went out and shot some city landscapes in Downtown LA to compare how I liked it vs mountain landscapes.

Early last year we moved from a small town in the foothills of California (which recently burned in a massive forest fire) to Los Angeles. Along with all the other changes that go along with that move, there is one more thing that changed dramatically – easy access to mountains. The day before I left Magalia/Paradise, we had a light snow storm. As the clouds broke, I ran home and got my drone out to see what I could see.

Drone photo over the snowy mountains of Northern California

That’s the type of landscape we left behind (albeit, when it was still green and not burned). So what has it been like living in the city and changing the what and how I shoot?

Well, it was interesting at first. I am the kind of person that I hate being an inconvenience to other people. I have a hard time not worrying about how what I am doing is impacting others. That is, until I moved to LA. If you think like that here, you’ll be eaten alive.

Nature and Landscape photography was my comfort zone. It’s slow paced, comfortable and you don’t need to deal with people. It’s definitely an adjustment to move from shooting nature to city life. I’m still getting used to it. But I have found some ways to make the transition easier. I have started shooting city landscapes. These were all shot in Downtown LA.

So Which is Better?

I came to LA thinking I had given up my access to great landscape photography. But I found that I like city landscapes too. It’s a different beast for sure. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. If I had to choose, right now I would go with Urban photography because that’s what is readily available. And I think maybe that is a good point to end on. Don’t limit yourself to what is “better”. Make great use of what you have. Comfort can be your enemy, so switching it up can make you a better photographer.

I’m always looking for new things to photograph. Let me know if you have any other ideas.


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