“Decisive moment” coined by the great Henri Cartier-Bresson many years ago has become a cliché phrase in photography. For many years I misunderstood it though. I thought it was about getting lucky, being in the right moment at the right time, scouting around until I happened to see something unusual. Looking back at those times put a smile on my face. Such naïve and too literal interpretation of that phrase it was.
By now I’ve found many more different interpretations of it. One of them is to find the right place and wait for the right moment to happen. As Jay Maisel once said “find a stage and the actors will show up” (or something along those lines).
On my recent trip to Carrizo Plain I found a field of flowers. Maybe it is not the right way to say it. I did not really search for it. It was so popular, it was hard to miss. Lot of cars were parked near it and lots of people were enjoying looking at it or going into the field to take selfies.
What I found was a few areas stomped out in the field that lined up into imaginary trail going into the field. I took a few images of the trail but something was missing. The trail was going to no destination. There was nothing to capture the eye at the end of the trail.
So, I waited. And waited some more. People were milling about. And I was waiting. Until I saw a woman in a bright red jacket going into the field. She was not following my imaginary trail. She was walking across the field. That was just as fine. All I needed to do at that point was to wait some more until she lined up with where my imaginary trail would take her.
When she lined up I took a few fast shots to make sure I capture different phases of her body movement to choose the most appealing later during editing. The end result is below.