Yesterday afternoon I decided to go out and shoot at sunset in the Aquarius Mountains about an hour away from my house. The sky was filled with fair weather cumulus clouds, and it looked like it had potential to be a great sunset. On the way out, the clouds kept getting thinner and thinner as if some unknown force was driving them away. By the time I arrived at my location, the clouds were gone and were replaced by more contrails than I’ve ever seen. Adios to my gorgeous sunset! So what’s a landscape photographer to do in times like these? Roll with the punches!
There’s almost always something to shoot. You just have to redirect your creative process. I went out with the intent to photograph a gorgeous sky, however, the sky was no longer an option unless I was an airplane lover. I hate airplanes! I hate contrails in my photographs even more. The sky was out. I had to start thinking on a smaller scale. After walking around the area for a while, my wife spotted a Beavertail cactus growing right on the edge of a cliff. Target acquired. I set up in a rather precarious spot, on the edge of one of those “I won’t get up and dust it off if I fall” drop-offs. Happy with my composition, I tripped the shutter. Shot bagged. The results can be seen at the top of this post in the image I’ve titled “Livin On The Edge”. Yes, I got the name from the Aerosmith song. Sorry, I’m kinda an old classic rocker at heart.
So, what’s my point in all of this? Don’t give up! Just because you don’t have a drop dead gorgeous sky, or a rainbow arched over a bighorn sheep silhouetted on top of a mountain, doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to shoot. Every day we walk past more photographic opportunities than you can shake a stick at. Open your eyes. Open your mind. Be creative. When you do, the shots will come at you where you least expect them.
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