Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Photographing the Desert

I have grown to love the desert, but sometimes I find it difficult to photograph in ways that really capture the beauty that I see.  Parts of Big Bend Ranch State Park are dramatically beautiful because of the viewpoints overlooking eroded canyons where it feels like you can see forever.  Photographing to capture that wide expanse sometimes falls short because what your eye is appreciating can look small and insignificant in a photograph.

I used my 100-400mm lens at 190mm to zoom in to get a better view of the ridges and canyons in the distance.

Here is the wider angle shot with my 24-105mm lens at 45mm.  Now the foreground becomes more important and the canyons seem far, far away.  The challenge with the wide angle shot is to move around and find interesting things in the foreground to capture the interest of your viewer and lead them into the image.  In this shot so much of the foreground is typically desert "busy" but that one yucca works to anchor the image.  This gives your viewer something that grabs the eye and hopefully encourages them to continue exploring the image.

This next shot was also taken with the 24-105mm at 45mm, but I have changed location with the yucca a much more prominent feature in the image. I am closer to the yucca but the camera was also closer to the ground.  This gives more detail to the other plants on the desert floor and removes the cluttered look at the lower left hand side of the image above.

I moved around more because I wanted to see if I could get one of the ocotillos as a point of interest in the image.  I changed to 67mm on the lens. One of the things I don't like in this image is that yucca stalk that creeps into the image on the left. I kept moving around trying to find the perfect spot so it would not be in the image. Yes, I can clone it out, but I prefer to do as much as I can to get the best images in the camera.

Each of these images tells a slightly different story about this scene.  Which one do you like best?