Many times we are fixated on getting to that favorite shooting location that we forget to pay attention to the happenings around us. In these days of not having enough time, there’s a constant state of frenzy in trying to get as many things done as possible at once. This is rarely a benefit when one is attempting to create successful images. Since I’m a fine art photographer with nature being one of my significant photographic subject matter, it’s not just the creation of nature images that lures me to do this. I also have a tremendous love for the outdoors. Having said that, I’ve trained myself to live in the moment and photograph a great opportunity as it presents itself, wherever it presents itself.
This image (Mystical Morning) was created on a peaceful morning as I was driving to one of my favorite trail locations. I have driven past this scene a hundred times and never bothered to give it any attention. You would never believe me from looking at the image, but these trees sit in front of a rural home that has a bunch of junk in the front yard and a host of trees and shrubs that wouldn’t grab any positive attention in a photograph. During that particular morning there was a heavy fog that had settled in, which had veiled the yard junk and created a fantasy world. I knew I didn’t have long before the sun would pop above the horizon and end the fantastic scene before my eyes.
Proper exposure was critical in order for me to capture detail in the moon and the subtle hues of blues, pinks and purples. This is where knowing your equipment pays off. Not having to fumble with settings and operational issues during the critical moments will lead to more keepers. I also try to have my tripod ready in the car and cameras setup to shoot the type of subject matter I am anticipating. Being prepared in this way reduces the number of fleeting moment images you might miss. Shooting RAW was also of great benefit to allow me the freedom of tweaking the delicate colour gradients without worrying about banding. I did carry on to my favourite spot after I created this image but knew that I had already captured something I was extremely pleased with.
Although I try to create my images as perfect as I can in the field, every digital image requires some post processing. When I got back to the studio I processed the image ensuring critical color accuracy with my X-Rite color management solution (i1Photo Pro 2 and ColorChecker targets) for custom camera, monitor and printer profiling. The X-Rite solution allows me to efficiently and accurately process my images providing more time in the field.
A while ago I had made a conscious effort to go back to the local, familiar places and hone my vision looking for compositions. Like many, I kept telling myself a more exotic, unexplored location would allow me to capture better images. Ironically some of my most popular images are ones that I created close to home.
I learned a valuable lesson that morning when I created Mystical Morning. I learned that to grow ones’ artistic vision, the blinders must come off and we must lose the preconceived notion that one particular area can’t give us the subject matter or situations needed to create beautiful art.