The Trophy Shot; a follow-up conversation

Picture: Panorama photo of the salt formations at sunrise in the Badwater Basin, (at 282 feet below sea level, it’s the lowest elevation in North America) Death Valley National Park, California.

Image: Panorama of the salt formations at sunrise in the Badwater Basin, (at 282 feet below sea level, it's the lowest elevation in North America) Death Valley National Park, California.

I was really delighted by the responses and conversations which arose out of my recent post, “The Trophy Shot; a nature and landscape photographers dilemma.” To that end, I’d like to invite you to listen in on a webinar-style conversation (with image examples) I recently had with fellow photographer and multi-tasking guru Don Giannatti, who runs the very successful Lighting Essentials series workshops. Not only that, Don is a very talented designer, having designed of my web site and logo. Don was also one of the photographers who had a strong response to my post, and invited me to talk about the subject in more detail.

In this conversation, “The Iconic Image,” I discuss with Don the driving need many photographers feel to get their own versions of landscapes, and the conflict that more experienced photographers often feel when confronted with crowds of other photographers lined-up at some of the most scenic locations in the country. Without casting judgements against these (dare I say) herd-mentality trophy hunters, as there are many times when I’ve personally chosen to join in with the crowds. There are just as many times when I say I don’t want to be anywhere near these crowds. But when I’ve been part of the ranks, the one thing I’ve noticed is that most photographers are locked into this “Subject-Only” mode of thinking, and often miss great opportunities to create more unique, personal visions at these iconic locations; and some of these opportunities are staring them straight in the face.

While sharing a workshop experience with some friends in Death Valley, one of the prime photographer-centric icon image locations we visited was Badwater, the lowest spot in North America. In addition to the classic icon-type of image I shot, here are a couple other images from that same morning.

Picture: Morning light on clouds over the Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park, California

Image: Morning light on clouds over the Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park, California

Picture: Detail shot of salt formations in the Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park, California

Image: Detail shot of salt formations in the Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park, California





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2 Comments on “The Trophy Shot; a follow-up conversation”

  1. Richard Wong Says:

    Great discussion and images Gary!

  2. Greg Russell Says:

    But when I’ve been part of the ranks, the one thing I’ve noticed is that most photographers are locked into this “Subject-Only” mode of thinking, and often miss great opportunities to create more unique, personal visions at these iconic locations; and some of these opportunities are staring them straight in the face.

    I think that about sums it up. Well said, Gary. Thanks for the link and the images. I look forward to seeing this interview/discussion!



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