Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Slow down and wait for it

On a recent trip to Death Valley National Park, I was out wandering the Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes early one morning.  I was looking for lines and shapes in the dunes that might make interesting compositions.  It was just over an hour past sunrise and the sun was still low in the sky, giving some nice side light.  It was also overcast and the sunlight was constantly changing.

I made the first shot below while the sun was between clouds.  I had hiked all over the dunes looking for a composition like this with a leading line, ripples in the sand, and no footprints.  The low side light produced some nice dramatic shadows in the sand, which was also one of the elements I was looking for. 
First Shot
 About 30 seconds later the sun went behind a cloud and without moving the camera I got a different photo.
Second Shot 
I actually like the second shot better.  There was enough indirect sunlight to make the ripples in the sand and the shape of the dunes stand out, without the high contrast shadows.  What looks good is subjective and you make like the first one better. The thing about art is there is no right answer.

Sometimes we shoot like we are in a hurry.  Set up, make the shot, move on to the next one.  It pays to slow down and wait for different lighting.  You don't know what you will get.


  1. I like the shadows in the first shot a little better, I think the show the depth a bit. Both shots are very nice.

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