Take the Photo Anyway!

The Colorado River, Dead Horse Point

The Colorado River, Dead Horse Point

You have your photo all planned out long before you click the shutter, but the moment arrives and things don’t work out like you had envisioned them. What do you do?  Maybe you should take the photo anyway.

I’ve looked at wonderful photos of the bend in the Colorado River from Dead Horse Point, and I’ve always wanted to go there. Thing worked out so I finally got my chance but it was a one morning, one shot deal and I had to be on my way later the same day. In my mind, I pictured a gorgeous sunrise that would paint the sandstone canyon walls and bring out the rich hues of the red-orange rock.

The day arrived and I got up extra early so I could make the 45 minute drive from Moab, Utah (the nearest town) to Dead Horse Point State Park and arrive well before sunrise.  The sky was clear enough in the east for a good sunrise when I left Moab.  Unfortunately, clouds soon began to form. As I pulled up at Dead Horse Point, it was drizzling. By the time sunrise should have arrived, it was raining.  Later on, it was pouring.  My visions of a glorious sunrise photo were washed away.

What to do.  Ideally, I would come back the next morning, but that wasn’t an option. So I took the photo anyway. I’d gone to all of the trouble to get there, I wanted to come away with something to show for my efforts.  And the light wasn’t terrible – soft light has its charms – but it wasn’t the light I had hoped for.  So I practiced what I would do if I get a chance to go back when the light is just right. But with one exception. I adjusted the white balance of the camera to compensate for the blueness of the light due to the overcast sky.  If the sun had come up, I would have used the daylight white balance setting.

It’s not the photo I most wanted, but it’s the photo I got. Sometimes it just works out that way.  And some day, I hope to be back at Dead Horse Point when the sun does show up. There is always the hope of a better image. It’s what drives serious photographers to improve.

Do I always take the photo anyway?  No. Sometimes the light is so awful that there isn’t anything to be gained.  No point in beating a dead horse!  (Sorry.)

Moab is the center of a photographic paradise, with Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park,  Canyonlands National Park, and Scenic Byway 128 (UT-128) all within easy driving distance.  Unlike me, plan to spend more than a day!  If I get to go back, I hope to have more time.

The above photo was processed on my laptop, and I don’t fully trust any laptop screen for fully optimizing a photo (even if it has been calibrated). The color balance and exposure are provisional.  I finalize photos when I get home to my desktop monitor.