Thursday, March 20, 2014

Near Gunlock, Utah

Seek and Find!

One bonus of enjoying taking photos of many subjects, is that if one looks hard enough, or is observant enough, there is always something interesting to photograph.  If the weather or light is crappy for taking landscape photos, maybe you focus on insect or flower macros.  Or maybe you head into town and look for interesting characters, people at work, or interesting architecture.  

There is always SOMETHING to photograph, and every time I go out specifically to take photos I challenge myself to come home with at least one keeper.  This doesn't mean it will always be a show stopper, but working hard to find an interesting composition, even when you are sure there isn't one, will help you become a better photographer.  It's the 'practice, practice, practice' principle.

Today just before sunset I took a break and headed out to a very small community called Gunlock, about 15 minutes away. The light was not good, flat with mostly high filmy clouds that made the orange cliffs muted and pastel-ish, so I was thinking more about finding old barns, fences, and a composition that didn't include the sky.  By the time the sun was behind the mountains I still hadn't found anything too interesting, except for a small herd of donkeys that were strolling down the middle of the road!  I took a couple of snaps from my car, but knew I didn't have my 'keeper' for the day.  I was about ready to give up when I glimpsed something shiny right off the road, but mostly hidden by tall weeds.  I turned around, drove back, and found a place to pull off so I stopped and walked around the weeds about 3 yards and discovered this scene.  It was a very small pond with greenish water, probably from a spring, nestled at the foot of this orange rock.  And just then, as if on cue, the clouds parted to allow some blue sky to peek through.  I had found my photo op for the day!

Since the sun was down and it was getting dark, I knew the camera could not capture the color of the water that I saw.  It would record as almost black if I exposed for the sky.  And the reverse was true.  If I increased the exposure to show the color of the water, the sky would be blown out white.  So I put my camera on a tripod and took three different exposures and then blended them together in Lightroom.  I also increased the vibrancy a little because the light was so flat.  This is very close to how my eyes actually saw this scene.


P.S.  Oh, and here is the very friendly donkey that walked up to my car in the middle of he road.  Luckily I was 'in the country' with no traffic so I could stop.  I took this shot out of my open window about a foot away from him.