19 September 2012

Eye to Eye

Icons. Most people love them, many landscape photographers hate them, and both groups for the same reason: because they're icons.

Arches NP in Utah is full of icons, and most of them have been photographed to death by millions of people who were all equally excited when they were standing right next to one of them. Especially the ones close to the parking of course ;-)

I like photographing these iconic places, because they're usually worth seeing with your own eyes, and because they provide a challenge to any serious photographer: how on earth am I going to create something different here? I've been to many places that few people have ever visited before, and to shoot something original in those places is very easy - just point your camera in any direction, and you're done. Well, maybe not like that, but you know what I mean. When you're standing in a spot from where many thousands, or even millions of photographs have been taken before you, it makes you think a little more about what you're going to do.

Before my first visit to Arches I had seen many pictures of Turret Arch shot through North Window, and never had I noticed that North Window was actually this big. It wasn't until I walked towards this giant opening and noticed it's position relative to Turret Arch that I realized that I had been completely wrong. It's a way more impressive scene than the photographs I had seen ever suggested.

The first thing I therefore did was to add a human element (who else?) to the shot to give a sense of scale to the image. It's still the same icon that's been shot to death, but the combination of the human element and the snow in the background make it just a little more different from the rest, which was all I was after.

I also shot another version of this scene without the person and with very different lighting conditions that I will post later.

If you would like to join us on our next Utah workshop, please check out our website for more information, pictures and tour impression video clips.


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