Sunday, December 16, 2012

Looking Past The Obvious

When June and I are planning a trip I like to get books to help me plan out where to go, where to stay, where to eat and what to make sure we see.  If I can find one, I also get a book on photographing the area.  These books, written by photographers, provide information on where to go and what time to be there to get "the shot".   My first photography book was "Photographing The Canadian Rockies by Darwin Wiggett.  I learned a lot from this little book and found some interesting places to shoot that were not in any of the traditional guide books.   However, I ran into other photographers who also had his book and were looking for the same shots.  

When we were in Glacier National Park earlier this year we stopped and took "The Shot" of Lake St. Mary and Wild Goose Island.  It's a popular shot taken by most people from the same spot.  The day we stopped I had to wait for other photographers to clear out before I could take my shot.  We had pretty nice conditions with blue sky, clouds over the mountains and an unobstructed view of the island in the lake.  I was able to take advantage of those rules (guidelines) to photography - having foreground, middle ground, and background elements to give the photo a sense of depth and the rule of thirds.

The problem with this photo is it's one of hundreds just like it taken that day.   In a year there will be thousands taken from this spot.   Just google wild goose island and you'll see what I mean.  It's just not special.

Not far away in Glacier National Park is McDonald Creek.  You won't find as many images of McDonald Creek.   It's a pretty place and most people will stop at the over look pull offs and check out the creek before jumping back in the car and heading up the road.   We spent part of two days exploring the creek and taking pictures of the various subjects (photos of McDonald Creek and Lake in my gallery).  On one of those days we stopped to sit by the creek and just enjoy the scenery and sounds of the water flowing over the rocks.  The water was low enough that I was able to wade into the creek and discover the creek bed was covered with smooth multicolored stones.   I had an idea - take a picture looking straight down at the stones with a fast shutter speed to capture the ripples in the water.

This is not something that you would find in the guidebooks or photography guides for Glacier NP.  I suspect few people come back from visiting Glacier National Park with a picture of the stones in the creek.   It's not the grand vista or one of "the shots".  Funny thing is it's one of my favorite photos from the trip.  It is one of the photos on my 2013 calendar and when people flip though the pages this is the one they stop on and say "wow!".

Sometimes we need to slow down and look around.  Take all of creation in.  Sometimes the prettiest picture is right under our feet!

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