Triple arch and moon in a dusk sky at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada's Mojave Desert
On my last post I mentioned how it was a great morning for finding arches, well here are a few more to add to the series, "The Land of Little Arches". Years ago my parents used to live out in Colorado Springs, CO so I'd have a great time looking at a map and trying to figure out how long I could make the trip getting there, the average amount of time getting there was 3 to 4 days and same thing with the way back so I'd visit some fantastic places of the Southwest & Rocky Mtns in good light and scout out a few others in the harsher hours of the day. Unless I could find some kind of canyon full of shade or canyon light then I'd just be there for hours with out a time limit.
Some of you may wonder how decisions are made on what to photograph. Some photographers use a book or a guide, GPS coordinates. This gives them a little bit of certainty and eliminates some of the risks of taking a horrible photograph and not coming home with anything. Of course no one can control the light and weather but some photographers are good at adapting to it so this increases their certainty of pulling off a great photograph such as the one they want to duplicate or hopefully improve upon and later submit to a contest for some kind of validation or just share it with friends. Is this true or not true?
I love to drive down a road and just look for interesting backdrops such as desert mountains or large rock formations. Especially something I haven't shot over and over again. I might have to spend a little more time being out there exploring but the payoff to me is well worth it. It really helps one's creativity when you are working with something you can't duplicate. I guess you could compare it to visiting restaurants when traveling, do you judge the place by it's exterior or look up the reviews online at home or smart phone, I don't care, if I see a BBQ house that looks like shit I immediately think "I'm going in to find out what it's like". I've had good and bad experiences this way, an eatery known for it's margaritas called the Loop in the town of Manitou Springs, CO. The margaritas were great but I like spicy food so I ordered "The Plate from Hell". Let's just keep it to the plate defeated me but the experiences from the road are part of motivate me to keeping on.
Photographers often fly to Vegas to visit the Crown Jewels of the Southwest, places such as Bryce Canyon, Zion, and the Grand Canyon. Collect a few images and be gone. They may see Valley of Fire on the map and think I'll visit sometime and some stop by shoot the Fire Wave, Fire Cave (Windstone Arch), Elephant Rock, and Atlai Rock then check it off the list and say been there done that. Valley of Fire and Lake Mead are so full of photographic opportunities I often found it hard to leave. Even during fun trips to Las Vegas with my friends during the summer I'd find some time sneak off and explore a few canyons here and there. The heat alone was enough to kill me and my water had to be frozen solid before any hikes began. There were many finds in bad light that require more trips into the desert to wait for the good light! As landscape photographers it helps to live in a place where we can be close to beautiful locations we can photograph in minutes away and Las Vegas has no shortage for the icon hunter or the explorer.
See more Valley of Fire images here http://bit.ly/sEKqwZ or take a workshop http://bit.ly/s7yuh6