(Continueing from my previous post.)
On the way back from Columbia Gorge I stopped along the road at Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge. Something caught my eye as I was passing by. Ponds of still water reflecting clouds. I stopped by and decided to stay there till sunset.
I was standing at the edge of a pond waiting for the sunset. My camera was on a tripod next to me waiting for the sunset. Wind was blowing in my face as I looked at the sun approaching the horizon. It was as simple of an experience as possible. And it was beautifully satisfying.
I standed there for an hour, just being there, experiencing it with every sense of my body, recording it in my memory in all its rich beauty. Because that’s what my life is all about.
Two things inspire me. I’m inspired by great images. But I’m inspired even more by people who go out and make images: no matter the conditions, no matter the mood, no matter anything. This persistence makes me do the same: go out and photograph.
Originally I wanted to write about going back to my old friend – Second Beach in Olympic National Park. When I went there a week ago I expected winter like conditions: overcast, heavy clouds. Instead it was summer like: sunny and clear sky. I’m not very fond of clear sky. It is a lot of empty blueness – boring.
Then I told myself: just do it. Take a camera and make the best images you can from the material you’re presented.
(This is the last story in 3 story series on photographing popular destinations. This one is the happy one.)
In my travels around Colorado this fall I visited many different places. It was my first trip to Colorado and my first fall trip to Colorado and thus I spend most of the time exploring. In a few days after my arrival a sudden and unexpected snowstorm ran thru the mountains, taking off most of foliage and dusting them with snow.
On the fourth day I drove south in a search for fall foliage. That’s how I ended up staying overnight in Montrose. I arrive late at night. It was already too dark to see anything around. At a hotel I saw a tourist guide mentioning Black Canyon National Park. I was not even aware of it. I thought that since I was so close to it I might as well visit it. The brochure did not have impressive photos of it. I searched online and did not see anything impressive either. One thing for sure was that there was no fall foliage there. Thus I abandoned that idea.
In the morning I could see my surroundings. Everything was green. No fall foliage in Montrose yet. I decided east and then north to Crested Butte. Just a few miles out of Montrose travelling east I saw a sign turn to Black Canyon National Park with only a few miles to the entrance. I thought it was a sign that I should go.
I did not regret I went there. I did not find fall foliage their or amazing well-recognized photo opportunities but I found something way more important. Solitude being one-on-one with the Nature. I was almost the only visitor there. I was sitting on rocks by an edge of the canyon listening to quite singing of birds, facing warm sun and cool breeze. I would look at the deep walls of the canyon dropping down with edges lit up by the Sun. Or I would close my eyes and let the other sense sharpen and form their own world. It was so relaxing and peaceful. That reminded me what photography was too me, filled my mind and soul with creativity again.
I went to Olympic National Park again, just 3 weeks after last time. The last time it was all about visiting old friends. This time it was about making new.
I like the saying “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” by Marcel Proust. It has been my guide in photography for long time. But… sometimes we can let our mind rest and let legs do the work.
I did visit a place I had been to many times – Rialto Beach – but this time I walk past Hole in the Wall, further than I’ve ever been before. I was enjoying excitement of exploration, walking the ground I’ve never been to before, soaking in new landscapes.
That’s where I made this photo at twilight. It has some mysterious feel too it, strangely attracting the eye. I’m wondering if its mystery has anything to do with a you-know-which movie.
Couple weeks ago I went to Rainier again. You know I’m falling in love with it. (See my post New Eyes.) While there I met a couple of photographers. We got talking a little bit, all three excited about nice sunset.
On the way back we were passing a view of Paradise Lodge with a nice backdrop of after sunset sky with nice hues of orange, red and blue. Their reaction was “It is not worth taking.” Mine was “I’ll take anything that excites me.” I think it turned out pretty nice.
[Good] photographer is the one that does not show bad pictures.
There are days when I take photos that excite me, photos I love. And then there are other days when I get none. That’s ok. It is continuous learning experience, continuous self-development. The important thing is not to lie to myself and pretend that mediocre photos are good ones. Just because I put up a lot of effort in taking them does not make them good.
On my last trip to Rainier two weeks ago I had those two days. On the first day I was treated to a nice sunset with great color in the clouds and a pink tint on everything on the ground from the light reflected from the clouds. (That’s when I took the photo below.)
On the second day nothing worked out. The photos turned boring and did play any tune in my heart. And you know what? I’m not going to show any photos from the second day. I’m still going to look at them; see if there is anything that can be photographed differently; what and why did not work. I’m learning from bad photos and you’re enjoying good ones.
Sunset at Mt Rainier
When I was a kid I could spend hours watching night sky, dreaming of traveling to the distant stars and other worlds. But I’ve never dreamed of photographing them.
Isn’t the technology amazing? Just a few years who would dream that any ordinary person could photograph stars and see Milky Way the way human eye cannot see. Aren’t these an amazing times we live in?
P.S. Stars, I still dream of you.