During my most recent trip to Yosemite I was struck by how many people I came across had a camera. Virtually everyone had a camera in fact. Some were enjoying themselves, some were strangely aggravated as they worked, some were rushing and many were curiously sizing up the person next to them getting the exact same photo. There was not one location I traveled to that did not have a group of photographers staked out photographing the scenery. This led me to wonder…
… “How many people were actually enjoying Nature?”
Granted everyone enjoys or communes with Nature differently, but there is something to be said for enjoying it looking outside the viewfinder. Sometimes that means just enjoying the moment and letting photography go. Other times it means understanding your subject well enough that you minimize your time behind the camera, while not missing the moments that really matter to capture a meaningful photograph. At some point you have to ask, “Are you taking a photo because you love taking photos or because you’re passionate about your Nature subject?” One answer is no worse than another, but only one answer will lead you down a path of capturing and conveying a photo that reflects your inner fire.
I was reminded of this as I ventured out in the middle of Cook’s Meadow under a full moon to capture the iconic Elm tree with stormy clouds blowing by over Half Dome. Carefully moving into position I set up my tripod and camera, identified the correct exposure and took all of 12 photos. Standing in a foot of fresh snow for well over an hour I spent a fraction of that time actually taking photos. Whether the photos came out or not was hardly a concern as that hour+ was the best time I’ve had in Yosemite to date. I had a John Muir moment if you will, standing in awe of the beauty before me and doing my best to hear the valley sing between intermittent interruptions of passing snowplows that would occasionally bring me back to the here and now. Fortunately for me during my time enjoying what Nature had to offer on this cold evening I was presented something magical that I was able to capture in the few minutes I was actually attending to my camera.
[tags]photography, landscape, nature, fine art, Yosemite National Park, Yosemite, stock photo[/tags]