Whenever I am heading off for a vacation, I always harbor a glorified view of that country for one simple reason: I can google the best photos of the destination with a few flicks on my keyboard.

So does my visit yields photographs worthy of Master’s work just because the locations are critically acclaimed? Assuredly no.

A beautiful landscape from the observation deck of Shin-hotaka Ropeway, except that this scene has probably been photographed to death.

Landscape photography, for being such an explored and studied discipline of the Art of Capturing Light, is extremely demanding on the photographer’s skill and creative vision. The magical ingredient that differentiates a good landscape photo from a stunning one is also a serendipitous commodity that does not come by easily: the fortuitous fruits of weather and sunlight.

In the span of the few hours of me visiting that location, what are the odds of me capturing a magical landscape scene that rivals the work of Masters who have patiently spent days, weeks or even years on end on the same location just to wait for that perfect interplay between the trifecta of weather, sunlight(or the lack of it) and landscape elements? Astronomically low. Or perhaps Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

I believe I should adjust my expectation when it comes to the quality of travel photos I have obtained over the span of a few days travelling in well-known touristy spots of a country. Time is simply not on my side when I am picky about the absolute quality of photos, especially the landscapes one.

For my Japan trip, I will count my blessing when the sky was azure blue and the morning sun beautifully lighted up the slopes of Mount Hotaka and the few trekkers poised to venture into the depths of the mountain. Thank you, serendipity.

Not shabby for the work from a 4 hours visit due to sheer luck.

Nonetheless, perhaps I should just visit the extremely boring Chinese Garden near my rented room in Singapore for another 20 times if I am particular about perfected results. Hmm…