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.
* Website: Eloquent Images
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