Take Part: 52 Assignments for Landscape Photography

The latest book by landscape photographers Ross Hoddinott and Mark Bauer contains 52 assignments to improve your landscape photography. Find out how I got on when challenged by my good friend Julian Baird to complete one of the assignments and join in the fun by trying one of the assignments for yourself.

52 Assignments: Landscape Photography by Ross Hoddinott and Mark Bauer

52 Assignments: Landscape Photography

Ross Hoddinott and Mark Bauer are amongst the most highly regarded landscape photographers working in the UK today.

Co-authors of numerous books their latest presents 52 assignments to challenge and inspire any photographer with a passion for landscape photography.

The book successfully breaks down landscape photography into 52 bit sized pieces providing both tips and fields notes for each assignment as well as many of Ross and Mark’s inspirational images.

52 Assignments: Landscape Photography is currently available to buy on Amazon.

Julian Baird

I was inspired to purchase a copy 52 of Assignments: Landscape Photography by a video released by fellow landscape photographer and YouTuber Julian Baird.

In the video Jules took on one of the challenges himself.

Julian and I are close friends with similar approaches to photography; we both prefer to plan our shoots, generally researching a location thoroughly before hand.

So you can imagine my surprise when Julian chose assignment 25: be spontaneous!

To find out how he got on check out the video below…

My Challenge

Jules and I have set each other challenges before, including one where we attempted to take a proper landscape photograph using just our mobile phones.

This time Julian challenged me to have a go at one of the assignments in the book, number 14: get close. This assignment encourages you to look beyond the wider landscape to find more intimate compositions.

Jules is as familiar with my work as anyone and well aware that I struggle with intimate landscapes. This was an excellent choice.

Intimate Landscapes

I have to be honest I struggled with the challenge. I really had to search hard in order to find pleasing compositions. Even then I was disappointed with my early attempts.

Eventually I decided to take a break from the challenge and to review my progress so far. It became obvious that I hadn’t been following Ross and Mark’s advice completely.

I also took the time to look at the work of Hans Strand who the book recommends as a master of the intimate landscape.

After a bit of practice I returned to my challenge and was able to capture some images that I was much happier with.

What have I learned?

For me the most important lesson that I learned was the importance of challenging ourselves.

If we don’t push ourselves to occasionally step out of our comfort zones then we are unlikely to grow as photographers.

I have also started to develop a deeper interest in photographing the intimate landscape.

The Lake District is a difficult place to photograph during the summer months. Concentrating on more intimate compositions should allow me to continue to shoot right through to the autumn.

Sharing the Fun

I don’t want to keep all of this misery fun to myself so I have decided to challenge some of my fellow YouTube photographers:

  • Tom Peters: assignment 22 – Nifty Fifty
  • Sam Bose: assignment 12 – Change the View
  • Jamie Overland: assignment 1 – To the Fore

Look out for future videos from Tom, Sam and Jamie.

But it is not just YouTubers that I would like to challenge, I would like you to take part as well.

Take Part

Julian and I are always looking for ways to engage with the photographers that watch our videos.

This time we would like to hear from you about your experiences of tackling one of the assignments in the book.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Get your hands on a copy of 52 Assignments: Landscape Photography
  2. Complete one of the assignments in the book
  3. Send us your favourite image from the assignment using this form

When we receive your assignment we will add your image to the bottom of this page along with some feedback.

Good luck and above all, have fun!

Chris Sale

Assignment 14: Get Close

Close up of moving water by Chris Sale
This image was inspired by the work of Hans Strand, the master of the intimate landscape.

Jules says…

“Though I instantly identify this is an image of flowing water, it is what I can’t identify that fascinates me. I find myself with a mild case of pareidolia as I try to pick out objects and faces in the whispy lines of the water. The way Chris has constructed this photo has turned something familiar into something that sparks the imagination.”

John Pettigrew

Assignment 19: Shoot Handheld

Assignment 19 Shoot Handheld by John Pettigrew
Shooting handheld really let me be more creative with composition, I found myself in all sorts of contorted positions. © John Pettigrew 2020

Chris says…

“Shooting closeups handheld is not easy. It takes a great deal of skill to get the important parts of the image sharp. I think John has done an excellent job here, it’s not something that I would have attempted.”

Steve Hartley

Assignment 35: Heavy Weather

Assignment 35 Heavy Weather by Steve Hartley
Not being in control of the location was like tying both hands behind your back. Anyway, after many failed attempts, this image came to me. © Steve Hartley 2020

Chris says…

“I have nothing but respect for photographers who brave howling winds and lashing rain to get the shot. Certainly in this case it was well worth braving the elements to capture an image full of drama and menace. Nicely done Steve.”

Daniel O’Donoghue

Assignment 1: To the Fore

Assignment 1 To the Fore by Daniel O'Donoghue
It challenged me to look at some different perspectives on a familiar landscape. © Daniel O’Donoghue 2020

Chris says…

“It is nice to see an image with something in the foreground other than just rocks! Not only does the felled tree act as foreground interest but also as a strong leading line drawing attention to the water in the distance. Very effective.”

Andrew Basson

Assignment 9: Go Slow

Assignment 9 Go Slow by Andrew Basson
It was a tiny bit of a challenge the location I am in does not offer many chances for some nice long exposures. © Andrew Basson 2020

Chris says…

“A classic light trails shot! The low view point, clock tower and traffic lights combine to create a strong image. I find myself wondering what created the light trails. They seem to be too high to be a car.”

See how Andrew got this shot.

Mark Pritchard

Assignment 25: Be Spontaneous

Assignment 25 Be Spontaneous by Mark Pritchard
One of the best experiences I have had in a short time of photography. Had a awesome time watching the sun come up. © Mark Pritchard 2020

Chris says…

“The joy of being spontaneous is that we never really know what to expect. That is the real thrill. On this occasion it paid off and Mark came away with a real cracker!”

Stijn Daems

Assignment 14: Get Close

Assignment 14 Get Close Stijn Daems
Being in the right mood, with the right weather conditions and knowing you got a whole day to spend, helped me to take the time to look around. © Stijn Daems 2020

Chris says…

“As Ross and Mark point out this assignment is an opportunity to be less conventional and more creative. That is certainly the case here with this striking image created by Stijn Daems. It almost feels like a double exposure.”

Peter Taylor

Assignment 14: Get Close

Assignment 14 Get Close by Peter Taylor
It’s difficult to find suitable subjects. I just happened to stumble across this one while walking along a rough track. © Peter Taylor 2020

Chris says…

“I love this shot from Peter! The bright orange leaves contrast beautifully against the white of the bark. Peter has done an excellent job of framing the leaves and showing off the patterns formed by their veins.”

Trevor Litherland

Assignment 5: Keep it Simple

Assignment 5 Keep it Simple by Trevor Litherland
Whilst the pre-visualisation of the subject works within your mind it can be difficult to correctly maintain that to screen and print. © Trevor Litherland 2020

Jules says…

“Keeping it simple isn’t always as simple as it seems but Trevor has done a fine job of creating this minimalist image. The main subject has plenty of negative space creating a sense of isolation and the processing of the image further enhances that feeling.”

Kenneth Webb

Assignment 14: Get Close

Assignment 14 Get Close by Kenneth Webb
I gained a new perspective on the beauty I walk by on a daily basis. © Kenneth Webb 2020

Chris says…

“The beach is an excellent place to explore intimate compositions. Subjects like these stripy pebbles make for a compelling subject. When shooting intimate scenes like this don’t be afraid to remove anything that distracts attention away from the main subject.”

John Pettigrew

Assignment 40: Mono Magic

Assignment 40 Mono Magic by John Pettigrew
Really enjoyed this assignment and I will certainly shoot in mono more often. © John Pettigrew 2020

Chris says…

“This scene works very well in black and white. The darks trees contrast nicely against the bright snow. Removing all colour from the image also helps to exaggerate the textures in the bark of the tree.”

See the video that John filmed about this assignment.

Cindy Engel

Assignment 2: Lead-in Lines

Assignment 2 Lead in Lines Cindy Engel
I am new to photography and this assignment seemed achievable © Cindy Engel 2020

Chris says…

“The patterns in the sand act as a strong leading line drawing the eye from the bottom of the frame towards the top. Cindy has done well to capture the waves crashing in, providing some interest in the background.”

Daniel O’Donoghue

Assignment 2: Lead-in Lines

Assignment 2 Lead-in Lines by Daniel O'Donoghue
I found that the curved path really helped to lead into the image towards the beautiful bridge. Daniel O’Donoghue 2020

Chris says…

“The path is a strong lead-in line that draws the eye towards the primary subject, namely the bridge. The grasses on either side of the path also help to exaggerate the effect. To cap it all off the bridge itself also acts as a lead-in line pulling attention away from the edges of the frame towards that dramatic sky!”

Stephen Ballam

Assignment 19: Shoot Handheld

Assignment 19 Shoot Handheld by Stephen Ballam
This was shot in 55mph winds straight into the camera, so there was no option but to shoot handheld! © Stephen Ballam 2020

Jules says…

“With this image, Stephen has shown what can be achieved with a little luck, a bit of bravery and no tripod. By going handheld and therefore having to use a shorter shutter speed he has captured the ferocity of the sea during storm Ciara. The choice to include a structure and the positioning of the horizon has resulted in an image that surely ticks the box of assignment #19.”

Gordon Melrose

Assignment 1: To the Fore

Assignment 1 To the Fore by Gordon Melrose
I decided I would start at no. 1 and work through the book in order (might be daft decision but time will tell!) I am aiming to do one per week for a year. © Gordon Melrose 2020

Chris says…

“Using foreground interest can really add depth to our images. With elements so close to the camera it can often be a challenge to keep both foreground and background sharp but Gordon has done well here. As a good friend of mine I know he won’t mind me saying that I would have preferred a little more light on the immediate foreground.”

Steve Hartley

Assignment 25: Be Spontaneous

Assignment 25 Be Spontaneous by Steve Hartley
I thought about going to the Burnham-on-Sea old lighthouse but on a whim, decided to go to Brean Down to see what presented itself. © Steve Hartley 2020

Jules says…

“Being spontaneous sometimes means working with difficult, high contrast scenes which can limit your options. I like the way Steve has picked out the shapes and patterns along the beach. I think there might have also been an opportunity to make the tree smaller in the composition with a spontaneous, handheld panorama. That aside, the conditions did look challenging but that didn’t stop Steve being spontaneous and getting out with his camera!”

21 thoughts on “Take Part: 52 Assignments for Landscape Photography”

  1. Chris – Got this book a few weeks ago. Already done a couple of assignments. One that I probably will not do is the final one about creating a website as I do not fancy the monthly cost. There is another one that really is dependant in the weather and that is the one about “snow” so if we don’t get snow……

    I’ll get a couple of shots uploaded in the next few days v

  2. Ordered and hoping Julian gets a cut. Looks like a great book looking forward to reading it when I land in London in a few weeks time. Unfortunately they don’t deliver to New Zealand So have to fly over and get it lol

  3. I started following your channel shortly after you went full time, Chris, and have been inspired by your work. I certainly plan to pick-up a copy of the book. It seems like the challenges can certainly push the creative boundaries we unintentionally impose on ourselves. I hope to have a submission your way soon!

    1. Hi Linden – I think that is the real strength of the book, it opens our eyes to new possibilities and provides practical advice to get us started. I look forward to hearing how you got one with the your first assignment.

  4. Chris,

    You’ve caused a run on the book it’s not available on Amazon, W H Smith & Waterstones. Consider yourself an internet sensation now, not unlike Delia & cranberries.


  5. I did get my book and have started. The assignments are all exciting, as well as challenging. I look to make my on notes as well as post my photos with each assignment on my own facebook page.

  6. Many thanks for showing my image Chris, I’m finding this book so useful for getting new ideas. Keep up the great work, I get so much help from your vlogs. really appreciate the amount of effort you must put into them.

  7. Greetings from Taupo, New Zealand… Yippee – my book arrived today via Booktopia in Australia! A great bunch of projects to look forward to on the day the country declared Covid-19 lock-down. Working from home for the next 4 weeks at least, and the work will be diminished so there will be spare time. The tourists have all left or are no longer on their way. It’s autumn here now so will be exploring isolated spots where there are no people, hunting out colour.
    I hope you guys realise how much of a life-line you are for us; keeping us inspired to get out and take photos, or even just take the camera for a walk by the lake. Please continue as long as you can – and stay safe!

  8. Chris, in Florida USA and my book arrived today. Going to give it look again tomorrow and see what is in there that I can do on my walks while we are on shutdown here. But, I want to thank you for mentioning this book. From what I saw in looking at it today it is really a top notch book for getting a person to concentrate on their photography. I shoot mostly birds but am looking forward to working towards shooting landscapes. I think the book me very much and provide a good bit of enjoyment. I am 72 and really started in photography about eight years ago. Love it. It gives me goals to work towards and this book will be a big help there. Again, thanks for posting information about this book. Look forward to your videos. Really like your presentation style and the information. Peace.

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