Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Right Place At The Right Time + Vision = Successful Photography

Sunset At Morro Rock - Morro Bay, California
Nikon D3300, 1/125, f8, ISO 100, Nikkor 40mm AF-S DX f/2.8G Micro
Successful photography is about being at the right place at the right time with photographic vision. Take the image above, for example. I captured it while on a day-trip to the beach with my family a couple weeks ago. I was in the right place at the right time to capture it, but I also had the vision to create it.

We didn't spend the day at Morro Bay. We actually played at Avila Beach to the south. But, on a whim, we headed north to Morro Bay as the sun was getting low to the horizon. It had been a cloudy and foggy day, but as we approached Morro the clouds and fog were letting up, revealing the warm glow of the setting sun.

We arrived at the beach just barely in time. The north side of Morro Rock is better than the south side because it is much less crowded, and even though it took an extra minute or two to get there, it was worth it. I grabbed my camera and literally ran (maybe it was more like a jog) to the beach to get there just in time to capture Sunset At Morro Rock.

The lifting fog and clearing clouds allowed the warm sunlight to hit the rock, illuminating the ocean spray as a yellow mist. It was quite a sight! And I got there at just the right moment to capture it.

As I was capturing images, making several attempts to get the waves as I wanted them, I noticed that I was the only one photographing Morro Rock. There were plenty of others on the beach with cameras, including some with expensive DSLRs and lenses--their gear on tripods. As far as I could tell, they were all photographing the sun.

The sunset that day was nice, but it wasn't particularly spectacular. The clouds weren't in the right place to really show the colors. It was above average. I captured a few frames of it myself. The real show was just to the left of the sunset, a little out-of-frame for those photographing it. And the show only lasted a couple of minutes.

It took photographic vision to create the image that others weren't creating--to see what others were not seeing. It's not that they weren't seeing it because they were there and the rock is so prominent. They simply missed the photographic potential of it. They were where they needed to be, but just missed it.

So it takes being in the right place at the right time, with the addition of photographic vision, to make successful photographs. Great photographs require both.

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