Capturing the Moody in Photography

One of my favorite things about photography and capturing a great image is being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. I also like to hear about what is takes to capture a great image that has a moody feel to it. In this post I will let you know what it took to get one of my favorite images of a farm in North Carolina. I call the image “Storming Morning on the Farm”.

Morning Storm on the Farm

Morning Storm on the Farm

A few years ago I had to travel to a location to work about an hours drive from my home. I had to make the trip ten straight days. Along my route I had the joy of seeing different landscapes, including country sides, and farms. While on my drive I was looking for potential photograph opportunities. The only site that interest me was a small farm off the main road. I was interested in farm, building, and landscape surrounding it. I loved the way the farm was secluded from the surrounding area. I was taken by the composition and the surrounding elements of the location.

Each day I traveled by the old farm I told myself I was going to stop and get an image of the farm. For nine days, I did not. I was lazy and kept telling myself I would get it later. Finally, on the tenth day, I knew I had to get the shot no matter the conditions. On the final day, I did stop. Once I stopped, I realized the conditions were worsening due to an approaching storm entering the area. The cloud cover was low, and dark, and the rain began to fall. At one point, I figured the photo would be terrible due to the conditions. However, I continued to get as many images as I could before the conditions got too harsh.

Little did I know the conditions played a major role in capturing the moody of the day. The clouds and rain provided me a photo that I could have not gotten nine straight days earlier. I was very lucky to get the photo of the old barns and farmland. I did not get the shot I originally wanted. I got the shot I was unknowingly hoping for. I was so glad I stopped.

Until next time!

Roger

Getting Up to Get That Sunrise

Are you a morning person who likes to get up super early and go outside on a cold windy morning and take photos? I am, sorta. It all depends on my reason to get up and go outside and get an early morning photograph. I really don't have a problem getting up early. I usually am awake around 5 a.m. Most nights, my body only requires about 6 hours of sleep. So, one a recent trip, I took advantage of my insomnia and got up each morning to get a nice morning sunrise photo on the beaches of Sunset Beach in North Carolina. After getting up at 5 a.m. and having a half a bucket of coffee I was on my way to get a beautiful sunrise image.

The temperature the morning I ventured out wasn't really that bad. However, it was a windy morning with winds around 20 mph. I arrived about 45 minutes before sunrise to set up and get the shot. My objective was not to get a photograph of the sunrise. My objective was to get an early morning video of the sunrise and the red morning sky. I wanted to capture the beauty of the red morning sky and the soothing sounds of the beach at high-tide.

I wasn't surprised at the number of photographers that were out to capture the sunrise that morning. I understood why they wanted to get an epic shot of the sunrise too. It was actually pretty nice to see so many people that shared the same passion for natures beauty and photography.

Morning Photographers

Morning Photographers

Below is the video I captured that morning. I wanted to capture the beautiful red sky, the sun, and the waves as they came in during high-tide. It was nice to video the morning sunrise and at the same time have the opportunity to enjoy the moment while my camera did all the work. Sometimes, as photographers, we get so focused on a shot and never take the time to enjoy the special moments and live in the moment. That morning, I did.

It can be a pain to get up early in the morning to get a unique image. I want to get the shot because I am aware that that special image will never come around again and I don't want to miss my opportunity to capture it. I enjoy sleep as much as the next guy, but I also know I a take a nap later. If you are not a morning person, do what most photographers do and at least get a sunset image. Below is a sunset video I shot the same day. It was a great day.

Until next time, get up early and keep shooting!

Roger

Real Estate Photography

In this post, I want to write about getting out of your comfort zone as a photographer. Now, before I begin, I want to make it clear that my opinion may not be the same for all photographers. I am only stating my opinion about getting out of "my" comfort zone and challenging myself to become a more skilled photographer.

Recently, I started thinking about my own photography and wondering why I should only photograph specific subjects. I photograph landscapes, wildlife, nature, pets, to headshots and portraits. I thought, why shouldn't I do real estate photography?
I have the camera, lens, tripods, and knowledge of how to take all types of photos. So, why not real estate? After thinking about it I realized there was really no reason why I should not make that a part of my skill sets. So, I decided to get to work on developing my real estate photography skills.

For me, I am pretty fortunate to have a very talented son who is a great real estate photographer. Jordan Younce is not only great real estate photographer he is a talented videographer, trainer, creator, graphic designer, webmaster, drone pilot, and CEO of Sleeklens. Jordan does a lot of real estate photography and figured if I hung out and assisted him when I could I could develop my real estate skills. I knew I needed real estate properties to photograph. I needed to be able to access nice homes and properties to practice taking real estate images. Tagging along with my son would give me a variety of properties fo photograph and build my real estate photography portfolio.

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Recently, I had the opportunity to photograph the perfect place in Asheboro North Carolina. Jordan had a real estate photo-shoot and I asked if I could tag along. The home was beautiful 3800 sq foot, 4 bedroom home, with a large pond, and over 230 acres of beautiful land out in the country. Such a location give a chance to improve my real state photography skills. I had a variety of subjects to photograph. I also had the opportunity to shot video, collect a variety of images, and shoot some nice "B" roll footage for my video about the photo shoot. I love to shoot "B" roll footage. Below are a few images from the photo shoot.

The real estate photo shoot in Asheboro North Carolina was a fun shoot. I got to spend time with my son, learn from him, photograph some nice real estate and improve my photography skills. I took the opportunity to develop and improve my real estate photography skills. Most of all, I got out of my comfort zone and worked on learning new things. That is always refreshing. Yes, learning new things can be a challenge, but it can be a lot of fun too. To view my video from the photoshoot, visit "Asheboro Real Estate Photo Shoot" on my Youtube Channel and feel free to subscribe and leave a comment if you like.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Finding Your Niche in Photography

Should a photographer have a niche when it comes to photography or should a photographer be able to photograph anything? A lot of photographers seem to struggle with that question when they start out in photography. Should they study and practice to be great at one type of photography or study various styles, forms, and photography practices? I can see the pros and cons of both schools of thought.

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Every photographer wants to be great and known for their work and many people have no problem being specialized in one type of photography. There are those that love landscape, wedding, portrait, pet, event, wildlife, nature, real estate, drone, and many other types of photography. Most people choose their type of photography based on their passion and some do a particular type of photography for monetary gains. In most cases, they have a niche and stick with it. For me, I started my journey in photography with landscapes and locations like Utah.

But is having a niche or one particular style always a good thing? I believe having a niche can be good, but I also believe it limits a photographer from learning and growing as a photographer. Now, don't get me wrong, a photographer doesn't have to know all types of photography to be successful, but wouldn't it be great if a photographer possessed a variety of creative skills that he or she could use if needed? Many photographers are routinely asked if they photograph things they normally don't photograph all the time. If he or she can't do a job, some people may think they must not be a "real" photographer.

When I started in photography I did like most photographers and thought I needed my own niche or speciality. I thought I needed to find one type of photography and do just that one style. I was told I needed to find my niche. I felt if I devoted my time, money, and energy into one style or type of photography I would be successful. Something inside me told me that was not the way to pursue my passion for photography. My passion in photography has always been to capture moments in time, no matter the subject. I realized I needed to study various forms of photography and even study videography.

My belief stems from a belief I have always had as a martial artist. When I began my martial arts studies when I was 13 years old I learned under one style. For years I thought that is all I needed to know to become a good martial artist. After learning the basics of the style I was studying I realized I needed to know more to become a skills fighter. I needed to studying other forms of martial arts to become a better martial artist. In a sense, my niche was not having a niche. Photography to me is the same way. After learning the basics of photography, I felt I needed to learn other forms and techniques of photography. I did not need a niche. I needed to learn all that I could from others. I needed to find my way. There is an old saying that Bruce Lee said that applies to my martial arts days, my life today, and even with my photography today. Lee said, "Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own'.

North Carolina Zoo

North Carolina Zoo

I feel everyone has their opinion whether it is good to have a single niche regarding their photography. I can see why some people feel that way. A niche can be a good thing and for some photographers very profitable. I choose to not have a niche. I love to photograph all types of subjects. I love to photograph landscapes, nature, wildlife, pets, portraits, sports, and even headshots for clients. However, I choose to not do weddings. I can't handy the drama from the divas. For me, I photograph what I like and try to improve my skills all the time. I never know when I will need some specific skills to help someone out.

I want to learn new things and learn from others. I want to do more video in the future. Videography will allow me to expand my skills sets and help to tell a story. I want to create stories. I want to write more blog posts about photography. But to do that I need to know myself, become more observant of my limitations, and continue to strive to become a better photographer.

A niche can be a great thing. For me, a niche limits my ability to grow and become a better and more skills photographer. Do you feel each photographer has to have a specific niche to be successful? I would love to hear your views on the subject. Feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Nifty-Fifty Day

Today I wanted to have a little fun and do shot some images with a lens that I haven't used in a while, but really love to use. I wanted to go out on this beautiful day in Jamestown North Carolina and shoot some images with my old trusty Canon EF 1.8 50mm lens. I really had no real subjects in mind for my trip into town. However, I wanted to see if I could capture any nice photos in my little town. My goal was to find some images within a 5-mile radius from my home. This time of year the trees are starting to bloom and some beautiful flowers are starting to show up. So I wanted to concentrate on those types of subjects for my images.

Anytime I shoot with my 50mm lens my main objective is to find subjects with a lot color. I love shooting with the 50mm lens because of the availability of light and the sharpness of the images the little but powerful lens gives me. Today was a pretty nice day to do a little photography. The natural light was not too harsh and there was some cloud cover. I ventured out to see if any of the local parks in Jamestown had any colorful subjects to shoot. My main objective was to locate some flowers.

I wanted to share a few images of my trip today. I was pleased with the images because I did get what I was after; color and clarity.

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Every photographer should have a nifty-fifty lens in their bag. It is one of the most useful lenses a photographer can own. Yes, the lens can make a photographer work a little harder to get a shot, but that is fine with me. My 50mm lens has no stabilization and no zoom. So it requires me to really think about my shots. I had a lot of fun shooting some nice but simple images today. I got the opportunity to put my old trusty 50mm lens on my new Canon 80D camera and capture some nice images. What a great way to enjoy a beautiful day.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Beautiful Looking Glass Falls

Every year I am always looking for places to visit and photograph before the crowds start arriving. I love to photograph waterfalls in North Carolina. Of course, I have my favorites. One of my favorites is Looking Glass Falls in near Asheville. It is a beautiful 60 ft waterfall and people come from all over the state to visit the waterfall. It is also a very popular summer hole for many people, including photographers. Looking Glass Falls is not like some waterfalls that are difficult to access and may require a lot of hiking. It is actually located roadside which makes it pretty easy to access. I had no problems taking my image because I chose to photograph the falls during the off-season. There was no one there. It was pretty nice to have the waterfall all to myself.

Looking Glass Falls

Looking Glass Falls

It's pretty easy to access Looking Glass Falls by traveling on U.S. 276, Forest Heritage Scenic Byway, near Brevard in the Pisgah National Forest. To get to Looking Glass Falls, take U.S. 276 North from Brevard about six miles. Or take U.S. 276 South from the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 10 miles.

Directions from Downtown Asheville (about 36 miles): Take I-240 West / I-26 East. Continue on I-26 East to Exit 40 for Highway 280 (and the Asheville Airport). Take a right onto Highway 280 West and go 16 miles toward Brevard. As you enter the Brevard area, you will see a big shopping center on the right (with Wal-Mart). Just past the center, turn right onto US Highway 276 North (Forest Heritage Scenic Byway) to enter the Pisgah National Forest. Go 6 miles.

What is very cool about the waterfall is it is always open. If you go in the summer, be prepared to deal with the crowds. Getting a great image of the waterfall is very difficult in the summer months due to the volume of visitors at the falls. If you are a photographer that loves to photograph waterfalls in North Carolina, I highly recommend visiting Looking Glass Falls.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

 

Does Your Photography Website Represent You

Do you have your own photography website? Does it represent you? I have always been interested in studying other photographers work and wanting to find out if their website (if they have one) represents them or does their website reflect what they feel their audience wants to see. A website can be important for any business and can be very important for photographers. Most photographers want to share their work and receive feedback from others using a variety of methods. Today, many photographers share their work on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero. Those are great advertising methods but they really don't allow others to get to know a photographer. Sadly, having a good photography website is slowly becoming a thing of the past. But, websites can be very effective if a photographer can create a website that that truly represents them. My question is, do a lot of photographers give up their creativity to please others, achieve fame, or seek to make a buck or two? I tend to notice that with many photography websites. 

What I see when reviewing a lot of photography websites is a lot of repetitive information given by photographers that is not that original. That is not really the photographer's fault. Photography information and topics can be very repetitive. Repetitive photography tips, tricks, and technological information can become very overwhelming to many people and sometimes, very boring. When having your own website it can be very easy to get hung up on repeating the same information over and over again and losing your audience on your own website. What most photographers struggle with is creating new content that is informational and entertaining while hopefully keeping an audience. Many of today's photography websites do not do that. 

In my opinion, a photographer's website can be more interesting if it can effectively represent the photographer and what he or she wants to photograph regardless of all the advice by other photographers. Some photographers say you should focus on a particular style of photography and make that one style your specialty. Some photographers say you should shoot all types of photography and be well-rounded.. I really don't follow the logic behind either view. I feel that you should photograph the type of photography you enjoy and are passionate about. I feel one's website would be more effective if more photographers would do that instead of trying to follow the same model as others. Many times being original as a photographer can be very cool and personally rewarding.

Not that my website will win any awards but I do like to create and build my website based on what I like to photograph and how I feel about photography in "my world". I like to express my views on having my own photography business. I can do that because it is my website and I can be as creative as I want to be.  I am aware of what types of photography that I don't care for or enjoy doing. If you look at my website you will not see a definite theme. My website is not technology based. I don't share a lot of tips, tricks, or gear information. I am actually all over the place. I photograph landscapes, wildlife, nature, and even biker portraits. I photograph such subjects because that is what I like and I find creatively rewarding. I don't photograph images just to please others. If others like my images, , products, services, and views, that's great. But, pleasing everyone is not my main goal. 

Trying to develop a website and a style that will please everyone is not my ultimate objective. My website reflects who I am as a photographer and as a creative person. I enjoy creating new images, styles, unique products, and services that I find fascinating and interesting. If one looks at my website one can see that it does represent me. I love to visit landscapes and photograph their beauty. I love to capture interesting images of nature. I enjoy photographing amazing animals. I am very passionate about capturing images that tell a story. I want to offer products and services that I find interesting and I believe others will too. I want to share my thoughts about photography and life in my blog to anyone that might find my views interesting. I want others feedback. Those are just a few things about my website that represents who I am and my photography journey. 

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So do you have a website that features the same information that other photographers post? Or, does your photography website reflect your style, creativity, and your uniqueness? My advice is not to follow everyone else but study them, learn from others and share yourself with an interesting website. Keep in mind anyone can build a flashing website with all types of information that is many times very repetitive. People will visit a website with a personal touch. Allow them to take a journey with a photographer. If you have a website that truly represents you, people will want to follow you on your journey. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Photography is More Than Just Getting the Shot

We have all heard the motto that "it is not all about the reaching a goal that is most important, but it more about the journey". When it comes to photography and wanting the capture a nice photograph of a location you have never visited that motto can be a great one to remember. Recently, I visited a state park in North Carolina that I had never heard of before even though I from North Carolina. The state park gets very little publicity, but my wife read that the park had a waterfall as one of it's major attractions. Those that know me know I really cannot resist photographing a new waterfall. With the information I got from my wife and the photos she found of the waterfall I thought we would take a road trip and check it out. My objective was to get a new image of a new waterfall and add it to my collection of photos of waterfalls from North Carolina. 

South Mountain State Park in North Carolina was not a far from my home. The trip was only going to take about 2 hours from my home. According to what my wife and I read about the park was the park offered clean campsite, hiking trails, a beautiful flowing creek, and best all the water that is called, "High Shoals Falls". Finding the park was not that easy and took my wife and I deep into the back roads of North Carolina. On the back roads, we saw large farmlands, old country homes, and nice roaming pastures. I was actually surprised that the state park was so far off the beaten path and at times wondered if we were lost. After about 2.5 of driving, we finally made it to the state park. 

When we entered the park we found the park to be rather nice, clean and there were very few visitors. We kind of planned it that way. We decided to visit the park on a Monday to avoid the crowds that we read could be large on the weekends. We made the right decision to visit on a Monday. Once we entered the park we entered a very nice visitors center and got directions to the waterfall. The waterfall was only 2 miles from the visitors center.

We had read the hiking trail to the waterfalls was only one mile, one way. We also read the trail was flat, and it was a moderate trail. Well, the trail was one mile long but the trail was not flat or moderate. The first part of the trail was flat, but about halfway into the hike, the trail became a little more difficult. The trail had large roots from nearby trees near a nice flowing and beautiful creek. The trail had some steep steps that had to be taken to get to various parts of the trail, and more importantly, the last quarter mile of the trail consisted of steeper steps and large boulders to confront. As we got closer to the base of the boulders my wife decided she would stay by the creek side and enjoy the nice weather and listen to the flowing water from the creek. She was the smart one. I decided to venture to the top to get a photo of the waterfall that was not visible from the location where I departed from my wife. My guess was, I was not too far from the waterfall. I was wrong. 

Once I departed my wife, began the short but tiring journey of climbing steep stairs and rocks to get to the summit. On my way to the top, I passed a few people. I passed two young girls on my way to the top (or should I say they passed me). I also had an older gentleman pass me that was coming done from the falls. He had a great deal of difficulty coming down the step stairs descending from the upper falls. I knew the hike was very difficult for him and he stated he had a lot of physical issues. Walking was one of them. I had a lot of respect for the old geezer. He could barely walk but he did not let that stop him from venturing to the top to snap a photo or two of the waterfall even though he had taken the trip many times before. 

Once I reached the top and beside the High Shoals Falls, I was impressed by the amount of water from the falls. Recently, the area had received a great amount of rainfall. So the volume of water was impressive. However, I was disappointed in the view. I found out very quickly that there was no real way to get a good composition for my shot. Another issue was the direction of the sun. I had to shoot directly into the sun and that was not going to work at all. There was a small platform to work from and I was continually dealing with mist from the waterfall. I did take a few images but after I reviewed them they were not worth keeping. After being a little disappointed I packed up my gear and began my journey back down the trail to meet up with my wife. Coming down the trail was a little tricky and it was a place that one would not want to fall, sprain an ankle, or break a leg. As I came down the trail I began to think about the old man I passed and wondered if he made it down okay. I did locate him resting on a boulder 30 minutes after I originally met him. He was taking his time and being careful in his decent. I could tell it was not his first rodeo.  

After meeting up with my wife, I informed her that I did not get a good shot of the waterfall. Then I started thinking that the trip was not a total waste of my time and getting a special image was not that important. What made the trip special was I got to enjoy an adventure of visiting a location that I had never heard of before. My wife and I got to spend quality time together enjoying a beautiful day. My wife got to do a little mediating by a nice flowing creek and enjoy some private time in nature. 

Those in photography, including myself, sometimes get so hung up in getting that "special image" that we can work with and share with others. But, the image is not what made the journey membeable. What makes a journey special is the what happens throughout the adventure. Sometimes is best to go with the flow and enjoy the experiences, sights, sounds, and challenges from an adventure. If one is too focused on getting a great image, one can miss out on what is most important and it living in the moment. 

If you get a chance to visit South Mountain State Park in North Carolina, enjoy the park. It as very nice campsite, a beautiful stream to fly fish and hike by, numerous hiking trails, and most of all a nice waterfall if want to push yourself to the top. Just remember to enjoy the journey. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Colors of Spring are Coming!

Well, it is that time of year when the great state of North Carolina and other surroundings states get to enjoy some much-needed rain. Some people don't like rain but I do. Rain is vital to our area producing some of the most beautiful colors in Spring. I created a simple slideshow of some my images of flowers in the Spring of last year. The images are part of my SquardUp Collection. For those that don't know, the SquardUp Collect offers some beautiful metallic prints in three sizes, 10x10, 12x12, and 16x16. Most people that purchase the SquardUp prints use them to brighten up there homes. I actually have 3 prints for my home. 

Below is my "Colors of Spring" slideshow to help get everyone pumped up for Spring. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

I Finally Got the Chance to Photograph Linville Falls!

Well, I finally got the opportunity to photograph the Linville Falls in North Carolina. It is hard to believe I live in North Carolina and haven't photographed the falls before now. I have been through the area many times and never had the chance or time to visit one of the most photographed waterfalls located on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. The Linville Falls located near milepost 316.4 or about 66 miles from Asheville North Carolina. There are a variety of locations to photograph the falls but I was looking to photograph the falls from a familiar location to others that have photographed the falls before. 

When I arrived the visitors center was closed and there were a few people there. After doing a little exploring of the area map my wife and I started our hike. The hike to the spot I wanted to photograph the falls was not very far from the visitors center. Actually, it was only about a mile to the overlook I wanted to do the photoshoot. The overlook I chose to photograph the falls is called the Chimney View. The Chimney View Overlook would allow me to photograph the upper falls and the lower falls. The view also had some very nice cliffs. So, I knew from some of the photos I had seen before online, that was the location I needed to find. 

One of the main things I wanted to do was to experiment with my new Tamron 18-400mm lens and see how well I could zoom into the waterfall. I had seen many other photos of the Linville Falls that were taken from the Chimney View Overlook and many of them were taken from a distance. I wanted to see how well I could zoom in with my new Tamron zoom lens. I was very impressed with how well I could zoom into specific spots throughout the scene. Having a new zoom lens for such a shoot provided me with a variety of options to find specific shots and allowed me to be a little more creative and seek out unique compositions. End the end, I found that a vertical shot of the upper and lower falls was my best option. 

I was very happy with the photo I got from the Linville Falls. It was nice to finally get the shot that I wanted to get for several years. In the end, it was all worth the wait. If I had taken the same shot without my Tamron lens, I would not be able to get the shot I got. Sometimes waiting for the right time is worth the wait. 

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If you ever get a chance to photograph the Linville Falls, I suggest to select a time in the middle of the week and not wait until the peak season. Even in the middle of February, the place got pretty crowded and the Chimney View Overlook is pretty small and it will be difficult to set up your gear to get a great shot. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce 

Getting the Image

Living Country

Living Country

Photographers are always looking for great images. It is what we do. We look for compositions, lighting, angles, and other elements that could make a great image. In the past, I have had jobs that required me to travel. I am not a big fan of traveling unless it is for pleasure like a great photo shoot. On one business trip a few years ago I traveled to a another part of my state and I and my trip back and forth between home and my assignment required me to drive. I really don’t have a problem with driving because it gives me an opportunity to explore new locations and of course, photo shoot opportunities.  

On one of my trips I passed by a location that really caught my eye. The location featured a pasture and farmland off of the main highway. Those that know me know I love to take photos of old historic locations that represent a part of the past. My job required me to travel pass by a beautiful county side location for about 5 days. Each morning and each evening I told myself I have to get the shot before my assignment was up. I really had no reason not too, but each day I put off stopping to get the shot. Each day was a nice day for the photo but not a great day. The skies were clear, cloudless, and blown out. However, on my last day, I told myself, no matter what the conditions I will stop and get the image.

On the last day, the conditions were completely different from the other four days. On the last day and my last opportunity to get shot, the weather began to become rainy, stormy and a low-level fog blanketed the county side. Most people would think that the conditions were too bad to get the shot. Of course, I did not. I felt the conditions for the shot provided the mood I was looking for the the image. The mood was perfect.

I learned a valuable lesson about putting off getting a shot. I learned to never think I could always get the shot anytime and get the results I want. Sometimes it is better to be patient and wait for the right conditions to get the right shot. I also know that sometimes there may never be a good shot. I was lucky to photograph the image that I call “Living Country”. Those that grew up in the country understand what this image means and it creates a warm feeling for them. I love to hear stories of how others grew up in a place just like the one I photographed. When others tell me how the image touched their hearts, I know I got the right image. A great image should move people, regardless if it is the viewer of the photographer. My advice is, never pass up a great opportunity to get a great shot and never take for granted the image will always be there. 

Until next time, keep shooting! 

Roger Younce  

Source: http://www.rogeryouncephotography.com/roge...