On the last photography workshop we got handed some lemons. Don and I checked in with the people in charge of the park and arranged times for them to open the park for us. We confirmed our discussions via email. Everything worked well everyday, till the last morning. We arrived at the gate as scheduled, but there was nobody to open the gate for us. We did not know what happened because the park people are the nicest people; very accommodating, helpful, and friendly. We hope nothing bad happened to prevent the person from opening the gate.
However, here we where at the gate. Don and I brainstormed what to do because there is really no other place to take the workshop participants in the area. Even if there were the sweet light was coming and we did not have enough time to drive elsewhere. We made a quick call to park the cars and hop over the gate (we had a permit to be in the park that time of day). We did not wonder far because we wanted to be respectful of the park and we wanted to be close to the cars in case someone came to open the gate. Although this gave us a shooting opportunity there really is not much beyond the gate to shoot. The sand dunes are not accessible from there. What were we going to shoot?
The sky started to show color. There were some nice clouds in the air. We wanted to be in the park so badly, but when life throws you lemons, as the overused idiom goes, make lemonade. What would you do? There were nothing but little shrubs in the foreground. Well, I simply did what I advocate so many times in my blogs. Scour the foreground since you already have your background (nicely lit clouds). Find something different. Find something that will stand out. This is what I found:
The lesson is simple. When you don't get given what you want, work with what you have. Search your foreground; find something, find anything. Slap a wide angle lens on and move right up to what you found; this will exaggerate its size and prominence in the image. You will be amazed to find out that you really don't need much to make good images; all you really need is good light.
Always watch your foreground (if there is one in your composition).
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