I trust my fiancee’s judgment, especially when it comes to art. Several weeks ago, I asked her to choose her favorite, and least favorite photos from my website. As her favorite, she chose Genesis, a photo I shot this past January in Death Valley.
Her least favorite? That was Vertigo, a photo I shot in May of 2010 in the Colorado Plateau.
Though she thoughtfully explained why Vertigo was her least favorite — I think there was another reason. The thought of her husband-to-be leaning over a 3000 foot precipice certainly doesn’t leave warm and fuzzy feelings.
These photos have one thing in common — they were entirely previsualized.
I visited Toroweap (the location of Vertigo) countless times, but never could find a composition I liked. In May of 2010, I returned with the objective of shooting a well-balanced horizontal composition. I purchased a 300mm Nikkor lens specifically for that photo.
Likewise, Genesis was also a well planned shot. I sought to capture a south-facing photo of the flooded salt flats. I hoped for submerged salt cracks in the foreground, and a soft gradient in the background.
On June 12 when I set out on my trip to the Colorado Plateau, I didn’t have a shot in mind. My only goal was to capture a photo better than Luminosity, a glow shot I captured on my 4×5 in May of 2010.
I can honestly say I tried my best. I hiked countless miles under the hot desert sun, formulated a plan to scout the canyon, and stuck to it.
Even though I did not walk away from this trip with a portfolio shot, it was a great experience. I learned how best to deal with extreme temperature — and even used a solar panel to refrigerate my film. I took only 3 photos — none of which I like — but my exposure was dead nuts on all of them.
This November, I will be returning to Zion National Park — one of my favorite shooting location. Unlike my June trip to the Colorado Plateau, I have at least 2 previsualized photos that I am determined to capture. I have goals, objectives, and aspiration.
So where does this put me for next spring? The Colorado Plateau has been great to me, but I won’t be returning next spring. I’ll focus my attention on another region — scenic North Dakota.
Or maybe not. But in all seriousness, it’s okay to make fun of North Dakota. According to my web stats, I haven’t had a visitor from North Dakota in 3 years — they’re not reading this. Mississippi, you’re not far behind.
One thing is for certain though — wherever I end up, I’m bringing my video camera to take you guys along for the ride. I’m sure you’ll see more of my (poor) dancing. Better yet, maybe I’ll even take a photo.
Oh, and maybe I should explain my video from Day 9. Did anyone think I was honestly shooting two 8×10 view cameras at the same time? Here’s the real story.
On the morning of Day 9, I ran into a friend at the Wire Pass trailhead. It was a complete coincidence.
He owns the exact same Ebony 8×10 camera (RW810) that I use. We hiked into the canyon, and checked out an area I named “The Dragon’s Lair.”
With two identical 8×10 cameras in the canyon, we decided to have some fun. Want to call my bluff? Look at my eyes as I try to explain why I’m shooting two cameras. They shift to the right — a clear sign that I’m making it all up. I’m horrible at poker.
I didn’t have a closing video for that day, so I setup a tent in my bedroom, and threw on a headlamp. I have a hard time being serious with this stuff, so I chose to use the video clip where I was interrupted by the neighbor’s motorcycle. Good times. 🙂