The impetus for this photo tip came from standing at Oxbow Bend in Grand Tetons National Park last week during sunset. I had come to learn that this area is very popular for photographers because of the way the Snake River meanders through, while also providing a picturesque reflection of Mount Moran. On this particular afternoon, though, it was quite clear that sunset was likely not going to be a jaw-dropper. We had a really thick layer of low-hanging clouds that ended up blocking a good amount of the sun’s glow. Still, we were steadfast in capturing whatever we were given.
About 30 minutes before the actual sunset, though, I noticed a firing line of photographers begin to form around me and some of my fellow workshop attendees (we had gotten to the spot about 90 minutes prior to sunset). What surprised me was that once these photographers placed their tripods down, that is where they would stay. Now, I fully understand the importance of securing a good location to frame up a strong shot… if the conditions were looking to be ideal. However, when it is clear that the sunset isn’t going to amount to much, why not work on diversifying the photos you take home from that shoot?
If there’s one thing that creates a wave of disenchantment over me, it’s coming home, importing my photos, and seeing that 98% of them… are exactly the same. That’s why, as I was standing here at Oxbow Bend, I made it a point to try different spots. Even if it meant giving up the perfect location, I’d rather have variety. So, my simple advice to you is to keep a mental clock going in your head. Unless you absolutely have to be standing in the very same spot with a very good purpose, keep a timer going and after so many minutes, try moving around. You never know what you may end up seeing as a result.
This is a three-exposure HDR image created by converting them into a 32-bit TIFF file using Photoshop’s HDR Pro and then saving it back to Lightroom for editing. Kudos to Rob Sylvan for showing me that trick. I used my Sony A7r and Sony FE 24-70mm lens on my Really Right Stuff TVC-34L/BH-55 tripod. The height that this tripod afforded me allowed me to clear my view of the distracting objects in the foreground. Stylization was done using Analog Efex Pro 2.