Often, I am asked at shows and gatherings how I got a particular photo.
Answer: “Prepardipity”: That moment when preparation and serendipity meet…
Well actually, the answer is a mix of things. I do quite a bit of planning before going to an area to photograph. Checking with various sources on the INTERNET, I find the sunrise and sunset times for areas, check with other photographers for their experience and information as well as checking with locals whom I have befriended while visiting those locales.
I will also check for weather conditions for that time of the season, anything that may give me a “leg up” on my ability to at least be in the right place at hopefully the right time. Once on location, I will be looking for the right composition but most importantly the right light. Light conditions can make or break a good photograph. Preparation is the key. Conditions, equipment, and safety, all play a key role.
Admittedly though, with everything listed above in place, serendipity plays a big part. You never really know when that opportunity will present the “fingerprint shot” as I call them. Thus, generating the question, “how did you get that shot?”
The photo shown here was taken at Oxbow Bend in Grand Tetons National Park. I had done my preparation before the trip from the San Francisco Bay Area and had already gotten some really nice shots. In the afternoon, a storm was coming in and I was heading back to Jackson Hole to my hotel when I decided to just stop and “take it all in”.
I was the only one there. As I ate the last half of my sandwich and what was left of my coffee, I was listening to the ducks splashing in the water with that muted sound and overall silence as the snow was just moments away from falling.
Suddenly, a small pinhole opened in the clouds to the southwest and a bright, almost flashlight-like beam of light, began shinning on the aspen grove across the pond from me. I grabbed my camera and took ten handheld shots and then it was all over. As fast as it came, the light was gone. Literally 3 minutes’ worth.
I drove back to the hotel in a rather hard snowstorm, content in just having been to there to see such a wonderful sample of Mother Nature’s beauty and kindness.
And that’s how I got the shot…