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Not Where you Think

Thought of the Shot – Livermore, CA – Not Where you Think

A blog to show you step by step how I arrive at my final image




My first tripod location. I knew I loved the S curve but the barbed wire in the picture (I thought that I would just photoshop out later) and the interruption of the curve left much to be desired.

This shot is titled Not Where you Think because of a single phrase I heard from Tim Cooper. He said “the first place you set your tripod down  is guaranteed to not be the best place to capture your image.”  In other words keep moving. You are bound to find a better place if you put the work in. Of all days for those words to run right through my mind of course it had to be that day. I set out on a very windy afternoon. There was rain in the air and a constant drizzle of water. I went to the top of the local hills in Del Valle Park. My wife and I got out, got our gear and started down the path. A little ways in I saw the scene develop in my mind. The strong diagonal, the S curve of the road, I just knew that was the one I wanted to come away with. I set my tripod down, and *snap*, as I looked at the image in the viewfinder the words taunted me to go on, move around.  I had no where else to go, there was a barbed wire fence in front of me and I would have to go all the way back to the start and around the fence then up a hill while the wind was blowing very hard. It was hard to stand up and it was wet from the constant drizzle. There was no way I could open my umbrella to protect myself let alone my gear. I really didn’t feel like going too much out of my way. That is exactly when I knew I had to do it. There was no way I was going to let something like that stand in my way of attempting to learn and grow. When I got to the spot I setup my tripod and fired away. Zooming in and out recomposing, setting a proper aperture to get maximum sharpness trying to keep rain off my lens. It was a learning experience to say the least and I was glad I did it.

Now, its your turn. Next time you setup your tripod, just think, this has got to get better if I move and then do it!  



The shot is setup on the side of the small hill. This gave me the optimum vantage point to shoot down on the road. There are a few reasons this scene excited me. 1. Diagonals – these create a tension in the frame especially when the leave the frame. 2. Leading lines – the leading lines help draw your eye into the frame the wide road that dominates the bottom left and wraps around into a slight curve and then on leads you throughout the frame. 3. Proper balance -There is a clear foreground – the road, middle ground – the trees and a background – the hills. They work together to create interest in the frame. I especially like how the road seems to go behind the hill on the left and then it fades into the white cloud causing you to anticipate whats next.




The edit took additional time to figure out in what direction was best for the image. At first I was editing solely for color. I cleaned up a road sign and spent at least half an hour trying to get the colors right. It just was not working. Then it hit me. Black and white. I switched it over and immediately saw the potential. It didn’t take me too much longer to arrive at the final black and white. I really did not have to do a whole lot to the image to make it production worthy. Other than decide on the final crop which got a reduction in content that was about it.

Not Where you Think

Not Where you Think



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