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« Assembling an image to get the picture you pre-visualized | Main | Photographing neon »

Look behind you

I was reminded on my recent shoot in Las Vegas of a simple but valuable truth. It’s good to look behind you. Of course there is the obvious safety reasons when you might endanger yourself by stepping back and either losing your footing, or backing up into a barrel cactus (yes, I’ve done that).

But in this case what I am talking about is looking for opportunities for images. Most times, we get absorbed in watching the light at sunrise as it illuminates the view to the west. Maybe it’s a snow covered mountain, or a reflective building. There’s magic going on, and we get hypnotized by the ever changing quality and color of the light as it progresses second by second.

What I want to suggest to you, though, is that when there is amazing light out in front of the lens, often times there is equally exciting light behind you. Sure, you could be looking back at a beautiful sunrise and the way it illuminates the clouds. But if you look at an oblique angle, you may find unique opportunities by isolating objects. Here is an example of the view looking East North East from the same spot where I was shooting west to the building in the image shown above. So always remember this simple idea to look behind you. It will reward you with great images you did not expect.

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