Mt. Cook, New Zealand

Ten Feet and a World Apart

We often hear photographers complain…

… there’s nothing to shoot … the light is bad… if only I had a better lens … THEN I could take the perfect shot!

The truth is, your CREATIVITY and how you view the world impact your photography far more than the most expensive equipment, the best “golden hour” light, or the most breath-taking location.

The first photograph is one we shot in New Zealand. Despite the fact that the light is a bit harsh… certainly not the ‘golden hour ideal’ that photographers look for, it’s still a gorgeous area with mountains, grass and moss growing around us, and a beautiful sky. As you stir up your creativity, you can see that there is an abundance of different photographic opportunities all around you, even with the less-than-ideal light conditions.

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The location in New Zealand where we shot the photos below

The shot below is one that Varina took using a long lens. She first scouted out the scene and decided to focus her attention on the single mountain on the far left side of the first photo’s frame. Her objective was to capture the subtle light and shadows on the mountain and then convert the photo (in post-processing) to black-and-white. The workflow that she followed was completely directed at accomplishing this goal.

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Varina’s shot taken with 70-200 F4L + 1.4x Extender

While she was focused on that distant mountain, I was standing only ten feet to her left. I used a macro lens and narrowed MY focus down to the smallest details around me… tiny beautiful mushrooms growing out of the blue-green moss around my feet. To capture my image, I had to follow a very different workflow than the one used by Varina. I laid flat on my stomach with my camera as close to the ground as possible to capture this tiny mushroom no more than ½” tall.

Mt. Cook, New Zealand

Jay’s shot taken with 180mm F3.5L Macro

As you compare these two photographs, you can see that they are vastly different. They each have a very different subject… completely different workflow… different reasoning for how the desired image was captured … and different post-processing.

The one thing these two photos have in common? They were shot ten feet apart.

So, the next time you believe there’s nothing to shoot… draw upon your creativity. Remember that every location, no matter the environmental conditions, has SOMETHING of interest to capture.

To learn more about creative compositions under any conditions check our our Composition Course.


About Author Jay Patel

I could startoff like this – “Seeds of Jay Patel’s appreciation for beautiful places were planted early in his childhood….” but it would get boring really fast. I will just sum it up and say that I am a Landscape and Wilderness Photographer who loves to capture dramatic light. My photographs have been published in various magazines, calendars and advertising materials throughout the world.

Patience is a virtue...unless you are chasing your dreams


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