In my last post I extolled the virtues of the telephoto lens. So what better image to follow with than a 17mm wide angle shot? (For the details of the capture of this rainbow over Yosemite Valley, read my May 30 blog: http://garyhart.aminus3.com/image/2009-05-30.html.)
I rarely (virtually never) go this wide at Yosemite's Tunnel View, but this is one of those rare Tunnel View images where the view of Yosemite Valley is not the primary subject. Instead, the obvious point of the image is the magnificent double rainbow (perhaps you noticed) arcing from El Capitan to Silver Strand Fall. When photographed this wide, Yosemite Valley shrinks into the distance and becomes simply background (albeit a pretty spectacular one) for the rainbow.
Wide angle images have great potential for drama. And while a wide angle lens shrinks distant subjects, wide images that fill the frame with their subject are particularly dramatic. I typically don't have the benefit of a rainbow to fill my frame, so I usually try to put something significant in the close foreground of my wide shots. But clearly that wasn't necessary here, and the result was an image that at least comes close to conveying the drama of the moment.
But enough analysis. Another point this image has illustrated for me is the mutual awareness and appreciation throughout the community of professional landscape photographers. Landscape photography is a pretty solitary endeavor that makes it easy for all of us to feel like we're working in a vacuum. But I enjoy viewing the work of my peers, admiring their good fortune when they experience something special, and appreciating their skill at capturing these moments with their unique eye--it's heartening to know that they're similarly interested in my work. As word of my Yosemite Valley rainbow experience spread, I started hearing from respected colleagues with whom I rarely have direct contact. Their genuine excitement for my success is a reminder of our unspoken connection, and the vicarious pleasure we all derive from the good fortune of our colleagues.
Above all else landscape photographers do what we do for love, with fortune and fame way down (or completely off) the list. We try our hardest to capture the best nature can serve up, but once we master our craft and learn how to anticipate light and conditions, there's no further shortcut to nature's magic. For every special moment we're able to share with the world, there are hundreds of frustrations when circumstances and conditions didn't quite align. But even the worst day of photography is still a day outdoors. And all the frustrations and failures with the camera only make these moments when Mother Nature delivers her best that much more worthwhile.
Next post: July 6 (please view my previous posts by clicking the arrow in the upper left of today's image)
* Website: Eloquent Images
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