Often as we head out, whether it’s Yosemite, Zion, the beach, etc. and we take our camera with, hoping to capture a fantastic image. And that certainly can and does happen, we can stumble upon great images be choosing to go to great locations. The likelihood of that fantastic image coming into reality will increase if we add to that some knowledge about the seasons, the weather, the time of day to shoot, etc.
But then there are those times where very specific images are what we are after. Perhaps we see a photograph by one of the old or current masters of photography like an Ansel Adams or a Marc Muench, and that sparks in us the desire to capture a similar shot with similar emotion to it.
Now in the case of the photograph you see here, this was a shot I took back in 2006 in Yosemite up at Tunnel View. It’s a sunset shot, where at the right time of the year the sunset color paints itself across El Capitan. I really like this shot, and it turned out great, the cloud capping El Capitan is a bit unique, so it all makes for a really fantastic image. But rather than be satisfied, all it does is push me in in pursuit of similar lighting on El Capitan, but one where I am taking it from a lower vantage point, and that’s from the Gates of the Valley view area.
I was able to get a really fantastic image from sunrise this last year at the Gates of Valley. It has some very unique clouds that are arching across the scene as you see here. But still, it’s not the sunset shot that I am after. It’s not an easy shot to get, but I am in pursuit of it. Every winter I have gone up to Yosemite since that day in 2006, I keep pursuing that shot I outlined. This is one where the conditions have to be just right for it to happen as I would like. So often when it snows in Yosemite, it stops in the morning, and so typically, by noon, the snow has melted off the tree leaves, and often off the rocks and reeds that make such great foreground interest in that Gates of the Valley shot.
Each winter I head back up to Yosemite when there is a fresh snow storm, and I certainly am open to photographing new and wonderful sights. I stay open to the grand ever changing scene that unfolds before me. But still, never far from my mind, is that one shot I am pursuing... And it adds a fun element to the chase. I have a goal, I have a challenge set before me, and that helps to drive me.
So while I hope you allow serendipity to lead and guide you to wonderful images, I hope you also have some specific shots that you are in pursuit of. Maybe it’s the Redwoods with Rhododendrons’ blooming? Maybe it’s fresh Dogwoods blooming in Sequoia or Yosemite? Maybe it’s a rain storm with distant lightning at the Grand Canyon? Be in pursuit of that fantastic image, and who knows, one day, you might just get it!