Stop. Get out. Go back
I have a love-hate relationship with landscape photography. There are certain landscape photographers who's images suck me in and I want to spend all day within their version of the world. I absolutely love and admire those artists. Others are technically amazing at capturing a very nice photo of things we've all seen before. And then there are the class of landscape photos that are simply a mediocre photo of a pretty place or scene. The later is where I feel the large majority of my landscapes fall. I have no question why, mind you. I refuse to put in the time. I don't get up early, I don't stay up late (waiting to capture the image at least) and when beautiful scenes actually do present themselves to me, in my waking hours, I'm usually not looking for them so, even if I have a camera with me I don't stop. I don't stop. How silly is that? I get that I will probably never muster the resolve to get up at 3 a.m. to hike another hour to be in the perfect spot at the perfect time, that's why I love creating light in the studio. I know that about myself and I'm ok with that. But the not stopping thing has bugged me for way too long. I have watched far to many beautiful scenes pass me by or vice versa over the years because for one shitty excuse or another I didn't stop to even attempt to capture it. Its ridiculous and I'm done. This last weekend Liz and I finally drove the alpine loop from Provo to American Fork, something we've been meaning to do forever but just now got around to doing it (that's a whole other issue for a whole other blog post). As we were winding up the narrow road a beautiful canyon peaked in and out of view. It was a deep canyon full of leaves changing color set against evergreens and other tree brethren attempting to hold out a few more weeks before they started their yearly transformation. All of those traits made for a beautiful drive but it was the light that made it "picturesque". Curving around two corners I considered stopping. After the second I told myself "if there is a convenient place soon I'll pull over". There wasn't. But it was immediately obvious that there wouldn't be. Nuts to that! The scene was too captivating and I had my gear. I stopped at the next turnout, grabbed my gear and headed back down the road to the last curve we passed. The view was wonderful. I found my spot, finalized my settings and started to shoot and it felt wonderful. I didn't care if I didn't get a fabulous shot. I had stopped and tried and that was so overwhelmingly important to me. I was only there a few minutes (I still need a lot of work on my landscape patience) but I knew I had something I wouldn't be disappointed with, a feeling that elevated after I got home and reviewed the images. I am very happy with the image I captured but more importantly I am proud of myself for making the decision to actually stop, get out of the car and hike back to where I needed to be to attempt to get the shot. The motions are what is important to me, an image I'm happy with is just an added bonus. Let's all take the time to stop and smell, er, take the photo the next time opportunity presents itself. We will be better off as photographers for it and we may even get a nice shot out of the deal.