Your thoughts on even failed shots being a learning experience makes a lot of sense, and I think it is something rather unique to large format.
With digital and smaller roll film formats, it is easy to fire off dozens of shots, bracketing to get the perfect exposure. I found that I didn’t learn very much that way, as I picked the best result and moved on. With the more limited and careful approach to large format, each photo becomes a priceless lesson, no matter if it is successful or not.
In doing my own large format landscapes, I often feel that each trip is more a “learning experience” than anything else, even when I do walk away with a composition I am happy with.
I think this scene has a lot of potential, but it may take another trip to fully realize that shot I had in mind. Just as you mentioned, the layers of this scene are very interesting, but the resulting shot just didn’t have the balance I was hoping for. Maybe I’ll have better luck next year when the dunes move around a bit. I look forward to giving it another try.
I couldn’t help but feel the shot may have really worked well as a vertical composition. The lead line was fantastic but the upper left corner of the frame was an area that contributed nothing else on the shot.
I’m enjoying your work, very different to my own. I’m surprised you wait so long after sunset.