It was only by happenstance that I spotted these trees on my way home one evening. Because of especially bad traffic that day along my usual route home, I decided to take a different way. As I drove along the back roads, I noticed the stand of trees and slowed down to get a look at them. I thought they might make for some interesting photographs, so I made a mental note of the location so I could return the following weekend. As it turned out, it was a couple of weeks, rather than a couple of days, before I could return to the area to photograph the stand.
Cypress tree root, Pinnacle Mountain State Park, Arkansas
Concentrating on the details in a scene requires me to do two things that photographing the overall landscape doesn’t do. First, it forces me to look at things in new and unique ways. Instead of looking at something and seeing it for what it is (a tree, for example), I have to see the pattern of lines formed by the limbs or the texture of tree bark. Second, I have to slow down. Because these kinds of details are so easy for me to overlook, I have to take my time and really study what’s in front of me. While this approach is certainly more challenging for me, I have also found that it is a more enjoyable, relaxing, and rewarding image-making process, and I am often very pleased with the pictures I make.
I took this shot from Stout’s Point on Petit Jean Mountain. I had arrived early to get some sunrise pictures, but an overcast sky prevented that idea from taking shape. As I began thinking about other possibilities, I noticed that a fog had begun to develop in the valley below. Within minutes, the fog grew so thick that the valley floor was no longer visible.
I spotted these turkeytail mushrooms on a dead tree branch that was lying on the ground next to my house. What initially caught my attention was the way the mushrooms had appeared to form in layers. Upon closer inspection, I could make out slight hints of color in the formations.
A lot of people like to keep every single picture they take, whether good or bad. Their reasoning usually comes down to this: you can’t know what you will like or what processing software will be able to do in 10, 20 or some other long number of years done the road and, since storage is so cheap, why not keep everything you shoot. However, people who think this way about their pictures probably do not use that same line of thought for any other situation. Ripped a sleeve of a suit jacket? Don’t get rid of the suit because you don’t know in 20 years what kind of repairs a tailor will be able to make or if ripped suit jackets will become fashionable.