Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself of the vast abundance available to me. After the morning visitation from the red fox and watching the colorful launch of the hot air balloons, I then went tramping off to the Maroon Bells (here's a link to some of the incredible images of the bells) which are the most photographed peaks in all of North America. It's hard to take a bad picture of the most photographed peaks in America but, back in my room, I discovered that I had taken about a hundred of them. The day was beautiful with white clouds punctuating the skies and hanging over the Bells. I looked at them and thought, "Ahhh, contrast with the dark reddish color of the peaks." I definitely did not think, "Ewww ... ugly white splotch." But that's what was hanging over the Bells in almost all of my pictures.
I use a really good point-and-shoot camera which has some ability to control exposure but definitely doesn't have the filters, alternative lens or manual adjustments to compensate for the challenge the sky posed. And, I didn't have the skills or even the observation depth to realize what needed to be done. Back in my room, I tried using Photoshop and by dropping a sky from one photo into another, I did come up with an acceptable shot ... but that didn't feel right. I don't mind tweaking a shot but to layer together two photos in order to create one acceptable one wasn't working for me.
The more I looked, the more I realized that I had been so busy looking at the spectacular peaks and reflection in the water, that I hardly noticed the sky ... it was just the backdrop. Of course, it was soon clear that the sky, the backdrop, was a key element of the image. It made me wonder about what elements of my life I'm overlooking or dismissing as backdrop.
This morning I went back to the Bells to see what I could learn. The day was even more overcast than yesterday so the problem hadn't gone away. But it was earlier and the lake was glassy and the reflections fabulous. I tried the normal shots and could see immediately the ugly gray-white blotch above the Bells. But the reflection in the water was lovely so I got rid of the problem by chopping off the tops of the Bells and just let them show up in the water. It's not a "money shot," but it's true to my perception and makes me happy.
It also made me think that we have to do the best we can with what we have. I'm not a professional photographer and I don't have the equipment that would overcome the challenge presented by the Bells. But, by looking at things a different way and using what I had at hand, I found a way to capture beauty and feel the joy that came with that.