Chasing the Light

It was a clear cloudless early morning.  Driving in the Buena Vista Grasslands, I noticed periodic ground fog and a developing belt of venus, the blue pink region just above the horizon. When the landscape is flat and sky is clear, the earth’s shadow (the blue region) will be cast to the west as the sun rises in the east.  I quickly “chased the light” looking for something in the foreground that would make the belt of venus in the background more interesting.  My task was made a bit more challenging looking for where the ground fog obscured the background but not the bales of hay nor belt of venus.

I am often asked how long it took me to capture an image. The answer could be anywhere from 1/250th of a second to 20 years.  I suspect most people believe I sit in one location for a prolonged period of time waiting for the perfect conditions.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Most of my best images were captured within 20 minutes of home, an area I know intimately.  I have been to most of the locations many times over the years and have developed a deep understanding of how the seasons impact the setting.  I know there are several dozen locations out there that will make outstanding images given the right conditions.

Most of the time I leave the house before sunrise.  I have already assessed the weather, time of year and made an educated guess as to what the light will be like.  I choose several locations to visit and then head out.

Always watchful, I assess the possibilities of light and landscape as I head to my first location. Sometimes I make it to all my planned locations, sometimes I get diverted by the light and conditions before I get to the first one.  When I find good light and good conditions, I look for a good location to capture an image.

So how long does it take to capture a good image? Well my favorites have taken multiple visits over many years.

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