Be out when others go in (always do what is safe)

July 03, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Every time I co-instruct a photography workshop I see the same thing. We get up early and hike in the dark to get in the right place at the right time. We shoot until the light is too harsh. We pack up and exit the park. All this time we basically had the park to ourselves. Then as we drive out of the park the masses come. They come in tour buses. They explore the park while we are at the hotel. Why is it that they are not there when we are there and why are we at our hotel when they are in the park? We are there when the light is good, regardless of time of day; it is all about the light. They are there for the scenery, not for the good light. The result: their images are flat and unappealing. They cannot understand why we get great images and they don't. Oh, I forgot, we must have good cameras!

          When we see storm clouds we go shoot (keeping safety in mind and keeping safe), while others run for shelter. We get up early. We stay late. We shoot at night. We chase the light.

          At this past White Sands workshop we arrived a day or so early, as usual. We do so to run our locations and check on things from the time before. We find foregrounds. We time drive time. We check in with the park's people. Then we want to rest a while before the hard work starts. However, storm systems where moving through. We stayed to shoot. Almost everyone else left the park because the clouds looked very threatening; and they were. We sat in the car when it was not safe to be outside; lightning can kill. When it felt safe (we use lightning finder apps, doppler radar apps, read the weather, etc.) we got out to shoot.

          This is when the drama happens. You cannot wish for dramatic images if you are not out there when it happens. Just look at these clouds:

The more you are out there the better your chances of getting drama. Plan ahead. Watch the weather reports and go on the edges of storms, but stay safe.


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