This is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way, many times.
One of the most difficult aspects of photography for me has nothing to do with cameras or darkrooms (be they the digital kind or otherwise). Rather, it’s being in the right place at the right time. This is especially true when traveling to a location I’ve not been to before or visited only infrequently. I will do a fair amount of research on the area to create a list of locations that seem promising for photography. This actually works pretty well, because when I arrive, I generally have a pretty good idea of the lay of the land. It actually may work too well, because on more than one occasion, I’ve passed up perfectly good photographic opportunities in order to get to the next location on my list. Invariably, I end up not only missing the opportunity I passed up, but also the opportunity I was hoping to have, because by the time I arrive at my listed location, the light will have faded, I won’t see a good composition, or any other number of problems crop up.
Not this time. The image in this post, “Dusk in the Canyon of the Rio Grande,” was made on my way from one location on my list to another. I had been photographing the San Geronimo church in Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, for an idea I’m trying to put together, and was on my way to the San Jose de Gracia church in Las Trampas, New Mexico to continue the project. Driving on the Low Road in the canyon of the Rio Grande, I noticed this glassy sheen on the river as the sun was setting, so beautiful! Beautiful, but there was no way there would be enough time to stop to photograph it and still make it to Las Trampas before dark.
So, Las Trampas will have to wait until another day, because I stopped to explore the opportunities before me along the Rio Grande. That’s the thing about landscape photography, you can’t rush it. If you try to fit in too many locations in a given time, the odds are you’ll come away with nothing at all. It’s better to take more time and do less.