Anatomy of a Shoot – The Grab
Sometimes…your best shot of the day is just a grab.
I hadn’t even pressed the shutter once on my trip and I was already pissed off. I was 100 miles from home and I left my wallet home. No money, No Credit Cards, No Drivers License. Luckily they didn’t ask for ID at the Border Patrol Check Point ( No I wasn’t crossing any border, we have Border Patrol Checkpoint within the state) It wouldn’t have been fun sitting around while they checked my status.
Piss off point two. I was told there was some great germination of desert wildflowers out at Fossil Canyon ( Shell Canyon) in an area of the desert I don’t normally go to. So I thought I should check it out for the coming weeks when the deserts (hopefully) come alive with beautiful wildflowers to bring a different andcolorful look to the often mono-toned desert landscape. So I drive 100 miles…and there is nothing, nada, zip, zero. I have no clue what they were talking about in a web piece I had read. It was as barren as I have seen.
So, I parked and ate lunch anyway and then decided to check out Shell Canyon since I have never hiked there before. It didn’t look promising but I was there and nothing much else to do. Maybe there was some hidden gem up the trail. So after lunch I just grabbed my 5D and a 17-40 L Lens and nothing else for a quick walk into the canyon. Hopefully there would be something interesting. There wasn’t. It was pretty run of the mill as far as desert canyons go. Pretty drab. NO plant life really to speak of. Not even any really interesting formations to shoot. So after about 1/4 mile I turn around and head out.
Pretty dejected on the way out, as I near the mouth of the canyon I see this light on a single rock. It looks pretty cool but I don’t think much of it. But I stop and handheld, I fire off a 3 exposure +-2 set and I continue on my merry way.
I spent the rest of the day in Agua Caliente, a part of the Anza-Borrego desert that isn’t visited by many but there are some nice areas of fish hook cactus, teddy bear chollas and agaves. It’s early in the season so nothing spectacular for color but there was some beautiful light just before mountain sunset (Remember when shooting in a canyon or area surrounded by mountains that the sun will set behind those mountains about an hour or more before actual sunset) and I also was able to get a couple shots of coyote and jack rabbit which was nice. I’m usually not able to get as close as I did to them.
The day ended on a good note because for me, any day in the desert is a great day. This one was no different. The end of the day is always beautiful there. Even if there is nothing to shoot.
I got home and after dinner began to do my sort of the days shoot. I didn’t shoot much HDR because there wasn’t a need to. The light the rest of the day was quite beautiful but not super high in DR. So I processed a bunch of Black and White shots of cactus and the like. I got a few nice shots but nothing earth shattering. At the end I went back and processed that 3 shot I did at the mouth of the canyon.
I processed in Photomatix and the color image was nice but thenI took into Photoshop and I processed it using my convert to grayscale action I made…and there it was… that was the IT in it. There was the light you look for and it was at a point in the day where light is usually it’s worst – Midday. It was just a quick grab when there was nothing else to shoot. But that was the shot of the day. The one that makes everything worth the effort. Light – Found
Be Ready, you never know what you will find
Thanks Peter. I think that many photographers get locked into the concept of that Golden Hour light and as such often miss great photographic opportunities that exist (sometimes only exist) during those midday times that we often avoid. I’m no exception!