Photography: Finding a subject when things don’t go as planned

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There is a famous “secret” arch in the Valley of Fire.  The first time we searched for it, it took us about an hour to find it.  We went back there recently and found it quickly.  This arch is hard to photograph because the way the light comes in.  We never seem to be there at the right time of day.  We took our friend Lisa there, and I had Peter and Lisa try to block the light with their bodies (which I didn’t realize involved holding plank positions for long periods of time).  And while I was struggling, Lisa suggested there was a different shot.

She was looking at the scene fresh.  She had never seen the arch before, and had no preconceived notions of what a final image should be.  When she pointed out the interesting rock formations behind the arch, she helped me see past what I had already visualized.  I ended up with my favorite image in that location, that I affectionately call “The Mouse House”.

Going forward, I’m going to try to see scenes from the perspective of “fresh”.  Try to eliminate images and visuals I may already have seen.  Let go of my preconceived notions of how the image should be shot.

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The arch from the perspective I’ve seen before.
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Re-positioning myself on the other side of the arch to shoot the rock formation on the back wall
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The contortion involved in getting my tripod, camera, and myself into that very small space.  I felt like I held the crunch for 10 minutes, and needed Lisa’s help to get out.

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