I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself it was okay to pass up a shot when in my heart I knew I should stop, get out my camera and tripod and snap away at a scene. When I do fail to stop, I usually end up looking longingly at the fast-receding scene in my car’s rearview mirror. I might pass up a landscape photo opportunity because: 1) I believe I already have taken too many photos on this outing; 2) the weather looks pretty crummy, or is bone-chilling cold; 3) the light isn’t dramatic or interesting.
As I watch the scene in my rearview mirror get smaller and smaller, I might hear an inner voice chime in: look, the weather is clearing up; OMG, the light is breaking through the clouds; or, there’s no such thing as taking too many pictures.
I look back on my collection of images and definitely can see there are some nearly aborted images that became my favorites. Thankfully, I tell myself, I didn’t listen to that naysayer inside my head telling me to “Keep driving and don’t look back!”
The images in this post illustrate this point, perfectly. They came close to being passed up. Fortunately, I lingered at the location long enough to see conditions change until the true beauty of the scene revealed itself. Usually, it was light that transformed the scene. Which makes me thankful to be out on location during the margins of the day — sunset and sunrise — when magical things really do happen before our very eyes.
The shot of the Three Sisters I took while out driving around one morning before dawn in anticipation of the sunrise. At first I passed this location thinking it was too familiar and easy, being that it was right off the road connecting my hometown of Bend and nearby Sisters, Oregon. But then I thought to myself, "It's not how far you hike, but rather than quality of light that makes a beautiful image." So I made the choice to stop, park and locate a good spot off the side of the road and wait for the sunrise. Glad I did.
The other image is of sunrise on Easter morning at Pine Mountain in the high desert east of Bend. I had gone out there early to get a shot of sunrise light on one lone tree that I had seen while scouting the area a month earlier. I got the shot I had envisioned, but when I walked around exploring a little more on my way back to my car, I spotted this scene and wondered what it might look like when the sun came up over the horizon. I started telling myself that the shot I had come after was already in the can, and was ready to call it quits because my fingers were numb from the cold. But something nagged at me to wait and see what materialized. Then I told myself that it would be an impossible shot because the contrast looking into the sun would be too great for my camera to capture. As I was about to leave the idea of using the outcropping of rock to block the sun itself popped into my head, so I stayed. Again, glad I did.
Three Sisters in Sunrise Light
High Desert Sunrise