Catching Air

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Catching Air

The Cadini Range, Sexten Dolomites, Italy (2014)

There is an old saying, “Never look back,” but on this occasion, I was glad that I did. I was hiking with this view at my back while heading out to a location a few miles away to shoot sunset, full of excitement about an alignment that I had worked out for a composition framing the famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo massif in the distance. I was hiking at top speed to make sure that I could get into position in time for sunset. With a storm clearing and fair weather to the west, I knew I stood a great chance of catching some special conditions in the shot that I had imagined.

I started out in the rain, which soon stopped, as the clouds parted and beams of glorious light began to break through…in the ‘wrong’ direction. I turned around to see this drama unfolding behind me and suddenly felt like a little kid having to choose between two favorite flavors of ice cream…oh the agony! If I scrambled off to a good position to shoot this scene, it might mean missing the one dancing as a vision in my head, the one that I had come to shoot. I wasn’t at all sure that I would have time to do both. Momentary paralysis ensued…do I stay or do I go? Well, as you can see, I decided to seize the moment. I ran as fast as I could in the ‘wrong’ direction to reach a point where I had a clear view of this amazing atmospheric drama and spent a good twenty minutes there chasing the fast-moving clouds with my telephoto lens. I then packed up and bolted off to the sunset location that had been my original destination, arriving with just enough to time to frame up my composition and watch with great anticipation as…absolutely nothing interesting happened. The light was flat, the scene was dull, and the wonderful sunset failed to materialize. So I caught the bird in the hand and not the two in the bush that I had envisioned, but I suspect that this shot would have been my favorite flavor either way.

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