Friday, November 13, 2009

Look Up, Look Down, Look Around

As a forester and wild land fire fighter, I was well versed in the near endless training programs designed to increase fire fighter safety. In my opinion, one of the best was titled Look Up, Look Down, Look Around. Its goal was to get the fire fighter to stop and take a minute to size up his environment, access the hazards, then to find way to manage the risks. In a fire situation, the thing that might injure or kill you is not the fire burning directly in front of you. Often far greater danger exist in the tops of trees burning above your head or from objects that might roll down the hill and hit you. In order to make it to another day, you need to always keep looking. I have attempted to use the same principle when out making photographs; just keep looking because the best image is often not in front of you.

The first Sunday in November was a very nice day in Astoria, weather wise, so I make a late afternoon trip to the beach. My original goal was to find a new location to catch the sun set but I began my journey a little too late in the afternoon. By the time I arrived, sun had disappeared into the clouds and from my location it was impossible to find an unobstructed view. At this point I decided to bag it for the day and head home when I looked over my shoulder and noticed the light reflecting off of the south jetty viewing platform. The platform was crowded with people who had come to catch the sunset and perhaps grab a quick picture. In the end, the multitudes departed the viewing platform with pretty much the same image. Despite the fact that I was in a less traditional location for photographing the setting sun, hopefully my image captures a bit more of the spirit and beauty of the evening.

15 comments:

Earl said...

Steve, great saying. Sometimes we get so focused on one thing we're not aware of anything else. In photography, I done it many times only to be surprised when I finally see the "real photograph." Wonderful story, post and lesson to learn. Have a great weekend! :-)

Steve Skinner said...

Earl, Who would ever have thought something I learned at work might be useful off the job!

Shelby said...

excellent perspective!

Shelby said...
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monstev said...

This is a wonderful image, a perspective I've never seen before. I love the soft colors and silhouetted people. I've made a couple of trips to the West Coast and Astoria was one of my stops. I would enjoy spending more time there so if that happens, maybe we could meet up but be sure to leave a little bit earlier. :-)

Steve Skinner said...

Thanks Shelby!

Steve Skinner said...

Monte, It would be great to meet up! As you know, we are about two hours from PDX. If you want to do a little hiking and photography during the winter months, be sure to include rubber boots because the location where this image was made is often wet!

Hayden said...

lovely. captures the piquant emptiness of day's end as well as I've ever seen it done.

Steve Skinner said...

Hayden, thanks for stopping by and offering such king words!

Pamela said...

good advice -- and an intriguing shot, too!

Steve Skinner said...

Pamela, thanks. The evening's soft light made the image.

Anita Jesse said...

That's great advice. It is applicable enough to have originated with photographers. But, letting us in on the origins of the warning gives it a nice punch. It certainly paid off for this photo. Lovely colors and a very special feel.

Steve Skinner said...

Thanks Anita. Of all the images I have made this fall, so far it's the one that has given me the most pleasure.

Paul said...

Great advice, Steve. I know that frequently I forget to look up or down.

As for learning stuff on the job and using it elsewhere, it seems that any amount of learning my be applicable elsewhere! It's a good thing!

Steve Skinner said...

Paul, I suppose that we spend so many hours of our lives at work, it's good that we come home with something with a head ache and a pay check.