- “What goes into preparing for a shoot? Aside from the technical, what time of day do you prefer? Does it depend on the subject? How do you decide where to shoot? Do you go to places people will know, or do you prefer what inspires you?”
|What a Rush|
|Overlooking the Gorge|
There are times when you just need the sun to be in a certain place in the sky, and that will depend not only on the time of day, but also the season. Everyone knows that the sun tracks East to West during the day, but there is also a North South difference depending on the season. For this shot, I needed the warm, low sun to illuminate the car, so I was going to need to wait until the end of the day. To add a bit of difficulty, I needed the sun to hit the car, and not just the tree that is seen as shadow on the building. This particular day fit that bill and allowed the sun to light the car, while the building was put into the shadows from the tree. There might have only been a period of a week or so that this lighting was present before the shadows changed.
As far as mid day goes, I try not to do much at that time since the sun is really too high in the sky to be all that flattering to the landscape. However, on cloudy days, the position of the sun doesn’t matter as much. This is one of the reasons that I really like going out on those cloudy days. I can trip the shutter from dawn to dusk if I am so inclined because the light will stay very good throughout the day. Clouds are also imperative to my waterfall photography.
That pretty much covers the “when,” but what about the “where?” That is the age old question for a photographer. Sure, I like going where everyone else goes for the simple reason…there is a reason that everyone likes to go there…It is usually a particularly beautiful place. The other side of that is, as with the case of the Mabry Mill, you can find literally hundreds of thousands of images of the same thing. The task for the photographer is to create an image that stands out from the crowd, and that is almost impossible. Does that make it less worthwhile to photograph? Yes and no. I know when I compose an image like this that I probably won’t achieve much notoriety with it. It is more for me and my personal collection. However, when I am working a location like this, I will work really hard to find images that might not be a typical view, which I hope will be a standout.
This intimate shot of the wheel on the Mabry Mill is no longer a picture of the most photographed place on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is an abstract study in lines, shadows, and textures. This is not a picture that you will find on 27 different post cards, three book covers, and every calendar issued since 1950. This is the arena that I choose to play in. I like to find the shot that nobody else has discovered whether it is at a well known place or something far off the beaten path. The exploration is part of the joy of photography for me.
What I really enjoy is driving around, getting lost and seeing things that, at least in my mind, nobody else has seen. Rural America is a wonderful place, at least when you aren’t getting shot at. I kid, nobody has shot at me and I hope that trend continues. But, I have had several guns about to be pointed at me.
My personal style of photography has always been trying to capture those moments that anyone can relate to. I want to spark memories and emotions in my viewers. The best way for me to do that is to go wandering around until one of my memories or emotions are sparked. Then I photograph what caused that revelation. The flip side of this method is when nothing sparks my creative side and I just burn through a tank of gas with nothing to show for it.
|Into the Gorge|