While taking pictures of the sunset the other night, I distinctly remember working this specific scene. It was the best view in the area for that time of day. I walked around to a couple different spots, but kept coming back to this one break in the trees because it was simply the best. The problem was, how do I compose it?
The sunset wasn’t supremely epic, so I knew I needed to focus on composition. The mountains in the distance I knew were good. The sunburst coming through the trees I knew was going to be good too. But there was nothing to work with in the sky. So I needed something in the foreground. And looking at the rocks around me, I wasn’t seeing anything special.
And this sorta leaves the photo not looking super special. It was ok; It could work. But I knew there had to be something better.
I walked around a bit and noticed this “S”shape in the rocks leading toward the sunburst.
But the mountains now became so small, distracting trees showed up in the left, and there’s just so much bare rock in the foreground. I didn’t like it.
I looked around some more, and decided maybe there was just nothing I could do, so framed the rocks a little more intentionally. More simply. And included the little puff of clouds to maybe help fill the empty sky.
Still feeling like there had to be a better shot, I moved to the edge of the rocks to see if maybe there was something that would work with the “valley” below.
Absolutely not. The typical upside-down triangle shape formed by most valleys just wasn’t here.
So I left the scene.
And then I noticed it! Further back, from where there was all this brush, you could see this humpback shape I hadn’t noticed before in the rocks that I had just been climbing around on. You basically had to stand in the brush, but it was the shape I was looking for. I was really grateful to the Lord for that moment.
It was also good because it required zooming in just a little to get the right framing, thus making the mountains not look too small, and yet, still making for a scenic shot that wasn’t empty-looking.
Knowing that the first shot from a good perspective isn’t always the best shot on a scene, I went wider.
The tree on the left felt cropped off.
Not too bad. A nice, wide, landscape shot. Maybe a good shot for text to go up in the sky. But the mountains look really tiny. Their visual impact has been diminished. I think I still like the one that I took first from that perspective with the humpback rock.
And that’s how it is sometimes. The first shot you taken when you get that feeling “this is it!” is the best shot. Working the scene after that sometimes doesn’t produce better shots. But still, if you don’t feel the “this is it!”, it’s probably a good idea to keep looking.
If you haven’t found what you’re looking for, keep looking.