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Looking Up, Highway 49 near Jackson

Posted by
Gary Hart (California, United States) on 30 March 2010 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

You could file this image under "returning to the scene of the crime." I'm generally not one duplicate shots, either my own or others', but that doesn't mean I won't revisit locations in search of something new. Several years ago I found a spot along Highway 49 near Jackson and came home with this poppy-covered hillside. Though that image became one of my favorite and most successful, that success doesn’t keep me from thinking there might be something more there.

Since then my spring routine includes at least one leisurely drive along Highway 49 to this site. While it’s always pretty, most years the poppies are a little more sparse than I found on my first visit. But two years ago I arrived on an afternoon of deep blue skies punctuated with cumulus clouds and found the poppies back in force.

As I worked the scene, my desire not to duplicate my earlier shot was very much a factor. Rather than climb the hill with a wide lens as I’d done before, I stayed at road level with my telephoto. With billowing cumulous mixed with blue, I opted for a vertical composition to emphasize the sky. When I found the composition I liked I locked it in on my tripod and just waited for the clouds to do something interesting.

The ability to lock in a composition is one more of the many reasons I think a tripod is essential to landscape photography. Unlike most forms of photography that are largely about reacting to moments, much of successful photography is about anticipating a moment. With a tripod you can spend the time waiting for that perfect instant searching for the composition you want, then “save” that composition on the tripod while you wander around in search of something even more perfect. And even when I’m done searching and am just waiting, knowing that I’m ready for the moment allows me to relax and simply enjoy the experience of being out there.

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Thanks for visiting. Even if I don't respond, your comments are always read and appreciated.

Julie from Easton, United States

What a beautiful shot! I seem to feel that the cloud is pushing the tree to the right as it floats by.

30 Mar 2010 5:26am

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

It is fabulous, and as much as the cloud plays a large part, the sunlight on the carpet of red and green is equally important.

30 Mar 2010 7:26am

Tamara from Aarschot, Belgium

So much poppies :))) Great capture Gary ! I love the sky half blue, half white... very special !

30 Mar 2010 9:06am

KriKridesign from Cully, Switzerland

Gary, this is just fantastic...I would be very proud about such a capture...So many personality in your upper tree...

30 Mar 2010 9:54am

Florence from Paris, France

A very poetic landscape, just makes me want to run up that hill !

30 Mar 2010 10:33am

Michelle from Elverson, United States

It's like the sky is torn in half, I love this.

30 Mar 2010 12:36pm

Tracy from La Selva Beach, United States

Just awesome! I love this area of California- all the oaks and fields....Just beautiful!

30 Mar 2010 2:35pm

violette from BRUXELLES, Belgium

the weather covers .
fantastic !

30 Mar 2010 7:31pm

KriKridesign from Cully, Switzerland

Are the yellow spots poppies? do you have so many?...amaising!

30 Mar 2010 8:08pm

@KriKridesign: Yes, those are poppies. Some years the poppy bloom is fairly sparse, other years they blanket entire hillsides. You probably can figure out that they're my favorite flower to photograph.

Thea from Leeuwarden, Netherlands

A breathtaking shot,with the light and the colors of the flowers!

30 Mar 2010 9:50pm

Phil David Alexander Morris from Canada

Quite surreal, nice color.

30 Mar 2010 9:54pm

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

the composition is superb here! the scene builds up nicely through its various points of interest - from the large tree in the foreground to the one behind it on the side and then the one at the top - it is great for the eyes to follow this structure and the colours and light enhance the journey even further!

31 Mar 2010 1:06am

Sandy Weston from United States

This shot was like time stood still for you. Perfect clouds, perfect composition, lush green! Awesome :)

31 Mar 2010 1:48am

Self-Indulgence from Chicagoland, United States

The cloud split in the sky is great. I read that you don't revisit. I revisit if I think I can do better and of course as a beginner, in some but not all cases, I can. I'm learning to differentiate which is which by actually doing it.

31 Mar 2010 7:38pm

Vitor Martins from Lisboa, Portugal

Beautiful image and frame. The image looks splited in four but well balanced. I like it.

1 Apr 2010 9:50am

Cathie Crow from Murrells Inlet, SC, United States

This reminds me of a Microsoft Windows Desktop Picture.

2 Apr 2010 6:59pm

PHILIPPE from Montreal, Canada

Exceptionnal! I love it.
Thanks for the intersting comment. I learn from it.

3 Jun 2015 3:45pm