Prarie Habitat, South Boulder Trailhead

Boulders and Yucca's along Mesa Trailhead
Shrubby Cinquefoil blooms amongst the Yucca's and rocks near South Boulder Creek and the Mesa trail. Technicial Details: Canon Eos 1ds III, 24mm TS-E II f3.5 L
Successful photography is about presenting the complex in an orderly, coherent fashion. Successful landscape photography is not about how much one can include in the frame, but instead using your vision to include only compelling and interesting elements. This is a basic photography concept and one that allows the viewer eye to travel through the image without being overwhelmed or distracted. Although it’s a basic photography concept, we can often be overwhelmed in the field with visual stimuli. Because of this, many photographers will fail when it comes to creating compelling imagery because they may be unable to create order from chaos.

Typically when I head out in the field to create images, I like to have an idea of what I want to shoot and where I want to go. I believe it to be important however, to keep both your mind open and your options open. I was recently reading and interview with a photographer who’s work I greatly admire discussing his inspirations. The Photographer purposefully avoids viewing other photographers work when possible. This is not done in an elitist fashion, but because he wants to stay true to his own vision and create original and unique imagery. He feels viewing other photography dilutes his own vision and prevents him from creating imagery unique to his vision of natural places. While I don’t subscribe to his idea to such an extreme and find viewing other photographers work inspirational, I greatly respect his desire to stay unique.

This morning I headed up the Mesa trail from the South Boulder trailhead. I was not feeling inspired to photograph anything in particular and in fact was simply enjoying a peaceful morning hiking with my dog, Jackson. Clouds obscured the sunrise this morning and the soft diffused light is some of my favorite lighting to photograph in. This time of year, mornings break often under ‘severe clear’ conditions, Boulder, Colorado is unique in that it is the junction between two competing eco-systems, that of the high plains and the Rocky Mountain foothills. The South Boulder trailhead and Mesa trail are great in that they wind through Bluestem grasses, Yucca’s and Ponderosa forests.

Early on in the hike, the many Yucca’s growing along the slopes caught my attention. They are starting to bloom in many of the areas along the Mesa trail. While looking for a good composition of blooming Yucca’s, this particular scene caught my eye. The red rocks, typical of this area combined with the Yucca leaves and flowering Shrubby Cinquefoil could be interesting if I could blend all the elements together. When photographing images such as these, it’s of the utmost importance to know what to include and what to keep out. At the same time, your not able to physically move trees, flowers and rocks so you have to work within the parameters nature has given you. Sometimes the flowering Shrubby Cinquefoil does not want to bloom far enough away from other distraction objects, and sometimes it does,