I took this shot yesterday morning along the banks of the Arkansas River, and it was a shot I just stumbled upon. I already had preconceived ideas of what I wanted to shoot, but the morning turned out to be very cloudy. This meant two things. First, there would not be any contrast in the scene, and everything would look flat and dull. Second, if I included any of the sky in the composition, the sky would appear as just a blank, featureless expanse. Unfortunately, neither situation leads to stunning photography. The bank was pretty rocky, so I was constantly looking down to make sure I didn’t take a bad step and fall as I wandered around disappointed I would not be able to capture any of the photographs I had in mind.
I must confess to a very bad habit I have. I will often come up with images and compositions in my mind that I want to shoot. That’s the good part. The bad part is that I tend to focus too much on capturing these mental images and ignore all the other wonderful possibilities around me. There is no way to count the number of beautiful photographs I have passed by over the years because of this bad habit. And that was the situation I was facing once again. But this time, things went a little differently.
After walking around for a little while wondering what to do, I started noticing the very rocks I was walking on. I began to see that some of them might have “hidden” colors – colors that are really there but just aren’t readily visible. So I started shooting some of the rocks. When I got home, I downloaded the images to my computer, opened the files in Lightroom, and moved the vibrance and saturation sliders all the way to the right to reveal the colors that were “hiding” in plain sight.
Some had amazing color, some didn’t. My only regret is that by the time I discovered what was truly right under my nose, I didn’t have time to capture as many of these images as I would have liked. Of the six or eight pictures I took of the rocks, the one above is was my favorite. The good thing is this area is not far from my home, so you can bet I will be going back.
Although I had originally considered this trip to be a disappointing failure, I now realize it was quite successful. I captured an incredible image, and I did it by breaking out of my bad habit and seeing the possibilities. That is a lesson I will try to remember every time I go out.
Settings: Canon 5D Mk II, 105mm, 1/25 sec, f/22