Landscape Photography with Limitations
Disabled for walking but you want anyway be able to get out some stunning landscape photographs? This describes exactly the situation I am currently experiencing for some weeks already, due to a knee injury - and unfortunately it will last for even more weeks, if not months.
#1 Mindset is everything - Try to get out the best possible
This is something I am used to already for my whole life. I'm not sure, maybe it started in my childhood and later in my youth ages, when I did a bit of top sports. My trainer always said: "Whenever you think, it goes downwards, whenever you think, it's going to suck - give anyway 110 percent, because you never know how your competitors are struggling".
Well, I don't see competitors in landscape photography, I don't do this to be better than anyone else - but always trying to get out the best possible, in each situation in life, is something what I simply got used to and what really helped me in many situations of my life - especially with photography.
#2 Figuring out your possibilities
Well, you are limited. Let's not concentrate on what you are not able to do, let's more concentrate on what you are able to do. In my case, I'm able to use a camera, I'm able to build up compositions, I'm able to use light to my advantage - and I'm able to walk at least for some minutes. But also if I had no experience with photography and no camera - I'd have a phone and two hands to use it. Let's go for some fantastic photographs ;)
In my first weeks I tried to walk 15 minutes to a spot, what was a bit too far, because my knee got worse. But I found out, that reducing that to 5 minutes and avoiding steeper areas was something, what didn't make it worse. Perfect - I'm able to do everything, when I don't walk more around than 5 minutes. Difficult? Definitely and you have no idea, what this means here in the mountains, because there are not all too many places you'll get out outstanding photographs without hiking anywhere. But it is anyway not impossible to get out something fantastic.
#3 New doors are opening
You have an injury? Hurrah! That's the best opportunity to think deep into your possibilities, to get over the red borders, we have set by ourselves and to expand your ken in photography. Let's go for photographs we'd usually never do, we'd usually never think about.
In my case this means, I'm currently thinking about to go to places, where I would never go for landscape photography. I'm going to try to get out strong photographs on places, where I know already, that there are no strong compositions waiting for me. Wait - is it really like that? How can I be so sure, that there are no one waiting? You know, there is only one way to find out ;)
#4 Landscape Photography - the best thing in the world
It is just amazing. Minutes before I felt a bit of frustrated, not beeing able to hike up in the mountains, but I anyway walked to my spot - 5 minutes only from the parking place and I was surrounded by houses - behind me. But is that important? Oh man - what a view :)
#5 It takes how long it takes
How happy we were if our limitation would go away - right now? But it takes how long it takes. And even if it should never go away - we have to accept how things are and we can always try to get out the best possible. There is always anything possible.
So what we can do is, we can go to an expert to get sure, that it heals faster, better and to avoid to get a setback due to starting to early with bigger hikes.
In my case I've been to a good physical therapist. I get mobilisations, ultrasound therapy, electrical therapy, kinesop tapes and I got excercises I have to do daily, to make the muscles around my knee stronger, what also supports the healing process.
On my experience, I will be able to hike up in the mountains weeks, if not months earlier, than without professional help. My experiences with injuries come not from landscape photography, by the way - this is just experience from sports. Landscape photography is usually a more safe sport :)
#6 Bring weight down in your backbag
A big problem in landscape photography is, that we have to carry such heavy backbags. Taking just one body and one lens with you could be an option to be able to walk if you have issues with your knee, hip, legs, whatever. But also if you are not able to carry any backbag - are you able to carry a phone? This photo was taken with my phone only:
#6 Best wishes
I wish you a good and fast healing, but much more I wish you to find your possibilities, to use this hard time to even improve your photography or at least to get out some outstanding photographs - also when you are totally limited in the moment.
Anyhow, I will go on with trying my best over the next weeks or even months. I will not be able to leave my house as often as I would like to and I'm sure that I will have phases of frustration - but landscape photography is the best thing in the world. Also when you are sitting on your sofa, frustrated because of limitations - at the latest when you are out on a spot and you are building up a composition, you see how lucky you are in reality.
Check out my gear, which I use for my landscape photography: