Outdoor/Landscape Photography

Preparation or Luck

Today was a bit of a rest day for me.  I took an early morning hike up the the rim overlook to take a peak at an overhead view of the Waterpocket Fold.  I decided to take my camera but not my tripod because I didn’t want the hassle of lugging too much stuff.  In the end it turned out to be a nice exercise, nothing more.  While on the way down I noticed some storm clouds moving in so I figured I would take the rest of the day off to relax, watch some football and hopefully it would pass for sunset.

Around Five O’Clock I decided I would head out anyways even though there was still significant cloud cover and more clouds on the horizon so there was bound to be an unexciting sunset.  I wanted to go see Chimney Rock to see if the late day sun would burn up the rock wall against a dark brooding sky.  I also knew from previous experience that some of the most interesting light comes at both ends of a storm.    When I arrived at Chimney Rock, like I imagined the light was dull and flat so I decided I would read from Galen Rowell’s Inner Game of Outdoor Photography again.  I recalled an excerpt involving pre-visualization, where he was leading a photo workshop in the himalayas and he noticed a rainbow forming.  He asked his fellow workshop goers if they would like to run over to the other side of a meadow to see if he could line up the tip of the rainbow with a Buddhist palace in the distance, sure enough it was dinner time and none of his students followed, but he got an amazing, inspiring and completely perfect composition.

So back to Chimney Rock,  I was sitting their reading and noticed the rocks started to glow, sure enough the sun was peaking through the clouds so I got out of the car and ran out to take a few shots to see what I could get.  After a few minutes this is the best shot that I could find.

Chimney Rock

While it is a nice shot, with great contrast of the rocks against the dark brooding sky, I felt it needed something more.  Then it happened.  I started to notice a rainbow forming just to the left of the chimney.  Like I mentioned before, the story from Galen Rowell came in handy.  The shot would have been nice just to have the rainbow in the scene, but like Mr. Rowell thought, “What if I could get the rainbow to line up like this?  Then it would be complete.”  And sure enough that’s what I did and this is the result.

Chimney Rock Rainbow

While some may call it luck to be there at the right time, I’d call it preparation and having a knowledge for quality of light.


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