This photograph is the result of an unintended experiment as it reminds me of the earliest wilderness landscape photographers, the ones that carried very heavy glass plate negatives. Each resulting shot was carefully composed and eventually hauled back to the studio for darkroom processing.
(Click thru the image for the 700px view)
So why does this photograph remind me of those days I read about? I had one hour in my schedule to find something to shoot in the town of Auburn, CA. I had previously shot the old Courthouse and wanted to look for a landscape shot. I had remembered a park nearby called the American River Overlook. It sounded promising, except there was not much of the river visible from the park, just the tree lined canyons the river has carved out over time. Yet, there were trails leading down to the river. How bad could it be? I could hike down a bit, find a great vantage point and snap away! Not so fast. While the views were somewhat impressive, the photos would not have been. The decision was to hike down to the river and back in less than an hour. All possible, but it did not leave me much time to shoot. This long exposure is the result. One shot and I was done. Not great, not bad. It just is.
Perhaps a few years ago I was a medium volume shooter. Maybe in the course of a full day I would take 300-400 shots. These days I would take about 150-200 shots over the course of a day. A 2-3 hour shoot would result in maybe 30 shots. (Of course, there are situations where you have spent the time composing and now just snap away to capture all the variances – water scenes come to mind.) In this day of digital photography where each shot is “free”, one approach is to shoot as many frames as possible and sort it all out in post. That most likely works, but it is not my style. Even if I am out shooting, I would like to enjoy the experience and see with my own eyes and not constantly through the viewfinder or LCD screen. Make your shots count.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted metering mode, ISO 100, 82mm, f/13, 64 sec
Auburn (CA), Diversion Stream, Rapids, Monochrome, Long Exposure. Auburn, CA. November 24, 2013. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.