Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dawn on Ross Lake

©Paul Anderson Ridge Lines at Dawn

Sometimes there are only seconds at dawn to capture the image. Changing weather pattern, changing light, changing color values all affect the image you have in your mind.

Remember, one of the best times to capture the mood of the landscape is during changing weather patterns and changing light conditions.

Try and be ready to capture the image as quickly as you can. With so many variables changing so rapidly you may only have seconds to get a usable image. Choose your primary composition and capture it - follow your instincts.

I remember hiking down to the bottom of Canyon de Chelly with my 75 pound pack. I quickly found a composition I liked of White House Ruins. I set up my 4x5 view camera and waited for the late light to begin its ascent up the canyon wall.

Another photographer soon joined me, set up his 4x5 and began his wait. But he soon decided to move to a different location - a process that took about 5 minutes. After a few more minutes he moved again, and then again, and again. By the time the light started to move up the wall I was capturing the image and he was trying to set up in a new position. I used approximately 30 sheets of film and one of those was used on a magazine cover, in several calendars, and in catalogs for photo tour companies. He never shot a single picture.

I believe that my hike back up the steep trail, with my heavy pack, in the dark, to the canyon rim was easier for me knowing I had captured a good image.

In a photo like this, don't be afraid to shoot many duplicates as the sky changes, you'll never know which photo is going to convey the emotion that you are feeling as you look at the landscape. Many times I fail to capture even one image that I have pre-visualized, but if I don't put myself into that position I will never capture what I want.

Your photograph, just like this one, may never be published, but this portrayal of elusive color and early dawn light meant something to me and so it was worth getting up early.

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