Lets get one more post in the books here for April. This is another photograph from Rocky Mountain National Park on a typical snowy Colorado spring day. Photographers often talk of visualizing photographs prior to making them. I would say I use this approach often and find that it can work very well at times. There is however, a trap in setting out with the intent of capturing a particular photograph during any given outing.
It’s easy motivation to idealize and visualize what one is going to photograph on a particular expedition. The thought of capturing magnificent light at an elusive location may be what gets a photographer out of bed in the morning when the alarm clock goes off at 2:00 AM, more importantly it may be what keeps the lights turned on back at the house. It can also be what hamstrings a photographer and causes them to head out with blinders attached. When I arrived in Rocky Mountain National Park this particular morning I too was guilty of having a pre determined notion of what I wanted to photograph.
I knew that it would be overcast and snowing in the Park this morning. These are some of my favorite weather conditions for my type of photography. Weather conditions such as they were this particular morning are great for photographing trees and more intimate landscape subjects. I headed over to the Hollowell Park trailhead knowing there were some nice Ponderosa pine groves in the area. I was intent on photographing Ponderosa pine trees covered in fresh snow as I had done many times before. I have photographed Ponderosa’s many times in conditions such as these. A funny thing happened as I set out from the trailhead.
As I walked along the stream, and further up the trailhead, the willows along the bank of the stream caught my eye. I have hiked past these willows many times before and never felt the motivation to photograph them. This morning was different. With the snow falling moderately and the Willows along the bank of the stream subtlety glowing red and orange, I had to get my camera out and capture the scene unfolding before me. I quickly setup my equipment, forgot about photographing the Ponderosa’s and began to photograph the willows. The soft light and snowfall combined with the red’s and oranges of the willows along the creek helped to create an almost impressionist like image. The bottom line, visualizing what you want to photograph is good, but make sure you keep your senses tuned and your eyes and mind open.