On Remembering To Turn Around

By |2012-07-28T11:05:00+00:00Jul 28th, 2012|

There was a great scene in one of the Ocean’s 11 movies where an entire crowd turns to face a casino that is about to be imploded but George Clooney stands his ground and continues to watch in the opposing direction. This scene sticks out in my mind very clearly whenever I’m out shooting a jaw-dropping or iconic scene.

This image helps me illustrate that point quite nicely because the scene that was 180 degrees from me at this point was totally unreal. I had a massive and expansive view of Olmstead Point – it was stunning and grandiose. It was everything you’d expect from Yosemite Valley.

And then I turned around. What I saw was just as beautiful but in a totally different way. I began seeing the smaller details of this area. Trees that were brimming with character as they sat atop the meandering rock floor. Little bushes dancing in the wind and the bees that hovered around them. I saw the smaller details that I think get unnoticed when they have to compete with such amazing vistas.

So let this post serve as a reminder that some of the best images may lie in the exact opposite direction than you may think.

Google Maps Location Info
37.81097, -119.48563

In terms of processing
First off, let me tell you just how boring the sky was during my trip to Yosemite. Plain, flat and blue. Nothing of interest whatsoever. That’s why I swapped out the blue sky with one that had more clouds using Perfect Mask 5 by +onOne Software. I also applied a tiny amount of blur onto that sky layer using FocalPoint 2 (also by onOne).

I didn’t do much else here other than add some contrast, clarity and fine-tune the exposure – all in Lightroom 4.1.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

Google+: View post on Google+


  1. Robert Mitchem July 28, 2012 at 11:04 am - Reply

    I have only recently purchased the OnOne Suite…thanks for the tip

  2. Lauri Novak July 28, 2012 at 11:10 am - Reply

    Good point!  People always wonder why I walk backwards sometimes, or I trip over things because I'm looking up.  Love this shot – cool clouds and perspective.

  3. Paul Bagley July 28, 2012 at 11:12 am - Reply

    I totally agree with you +Brian Matiash. I had a similar experience recently on a trip to the Canadian Rockies. I had gotten up at 3:15 am so that I could be at Moraine Lake for a sunrise picture. I didn't realize that the lake was still mostly frozen and not quite as scenic as I had hoped. But it made me turn around and get an epic view of the snow covered valley opposite this view I the lake. I'm sure most people travel there and never turn around. Thanks for posting!

  4. Steve Kalman July 28, 2012 at 11:25 am - Reply

    The iconic shot at Zion is the sunset shot of the Watchman. Most people are so busy taking 2 frames a minute for an hour and a half as the sun does its thing, they forget to turn around for 30 seconds and see/shoot the beautiful light on the ridge behind them. 

  5. Shelly Gunderson July 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    I agree.  It can be very amazing what you find in the opposite direction of a popular vantage.  Very lovely image!

  6. Johnny Dahlén July 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    Absolutely right. Sometimes you get too fixated on a particular subject that you forget to look around the other way.

  7. Kurt Dilleybart July 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    …and the monster is always behind you.

  8. Michael Winecoff July 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    Really enjoyed your really really good work because you are really really good at what you are doing ..

  9. Judy Frederick July 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Great work, Brian and very good advise to be aware of all the beauty around us!

  10. Ulli Kolodziej July 29, 2012 at 12:23 am - Reply
  11. Ravindra Zodape July 29, 2012 at 1:44 pm - Reply


  12. Vy qu?nh July 30, 2012 at 1:14 am - Reply

    wao…very nice!??p l?m

  13. Ulli Kolodziej July 30, 2012 at 2:20 am - Reply

    Ya IT looks good, but is it good for us?

  14. Simos Xenakis July 30, 2012 at 6:35 am - Reply

    Great shot and very good advice! Reminds me of a similar rule that I picked up from a Scott Kelby book –never take the walk-up shot.

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