I'm rarely productive on my first visit to a location. Until I have a feel for a place I tend to be too analytical, forcing myself to make photos rather than letting them come to me. I've come to recognize this as a common plight of most workshop participants, who usually are also visiting a location for the first time. In these situations there's a tendency to feel pressure to produce great images right out of the chute. So as much as Don (Smith) and I try to assist our workshop groups in the field (and we do), I've come to realize that sometimes it's best to monitor from a distance and let people explore first to get a feel for the area.
On this overcast morning we delivered the group to these cliffs on the Mendocino Headlands and everyone quickly spread out--Don was a little north, I was a little south, and the group was in between. The cliffs here are pretty exposed, so from my vantage point I could see everyone. It was encouraging to see that all had found something to shoot--some had focused on the larger scene, others were sprawled in the weeds working wildflower macro compositions. So I continued wandering, eventually making my way out on this narrow point blanketed with flowers. I occasionally raised my camera to try a composition, but didn't find anything that excited me enough to set up my tripod and make something.
Rather than succumb to frustration, in situations like this I try to forget about my camera and simply enjoy the beauty surrounding me. This approach succeeds in moving me from my left (logical, analytical) brain to my right (intuitive, feeling) brain. Invariably that's when the real opportunities emerge, not as potential images but as something to appreciate.
And that's exactly what happened this morning on the Mendocino Headlands. I'm not sure how much time I spent simply admiring the view before instinctively raising my camera, an entirely reflexive act. Then the images just started coming fast and furious (without conscious thought of visual movement or the "rule of thirds") and I couldn't believe I'd not seen them before.
Next post: June 25 (please view my previous posts by clicking the arrow in the upper left of today's image)
* Website: Eloquent Images
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