October 24, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

We are back at the Cholla garden today. You can find this "garden" in Joshua Tree National Park. The garden can be difficult to photograph if you seek to do landscape photography due to the large number of Chollas. The best advice I can give you, as mentioned in a recent blog about this cacti garden, is to explore. Just walk around until you find your image. In following my own advice I found this spot where the density of the Cholla cacti decreased. This provided a bit more space between the cacti to try to create a photograph with. Luckily for me, this spot was also the way the "river" would flow when it rained. The "river bed" forged like a little path if you have enough of an imagination to see it.

          The vegetation and direction of the little path worked together perfectly for the sun to more brightly illuminate the path which helped to really make it stand out. This path formed a very nice lead-in line in this otherwise chaotic scene.

My goal was to have the path take the viewer to the sun. I balanced the sun with the Cholla in the right foreground. You will notice that all my Cholla images were taken shooting straight into the sun. For a topic such as Chollas, this is important because backlighting suits these thorny friends very well and produces rim lights around them. This rim light is not only interesting but makes these plants pop out from the background. They just come to life in low angled backlight.

          Once again, watch the edge of the frame to exclude any bright objects which can be difficult in a garden like this one. I liked the harsh-ish sun too as it helps to convey what a tough landscape this is, hot and dry. Our photographs tell stories. The better that story is portrayed the better the photograph, most of the time.

          I would never have gotten this image if I did not explore the area. Part of landscape photography should be to walk around. Explore the landscape. Search for something different, something colorful, some pattern, some line, some interesting thing. I say this all the time, the difference between a good landscape image and a great one of the same location, in the same light, and taken at around the same time is what was gained by exploring. Exploration helps you to adds that something special. It helps you to nail the composition. Never be satisfied with what you have. Get your shot then explore the area for a better one, and repeat the process. Just explore.


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