When we traveled to France in 2010, we made sure to include a visit to Versailles on our itinerary. So much of Versailles is extraordinary, but the Grand Trianon château stands out as one of the more beautiful. This section of the palace was roped off, allowing one to view it but preventing entry. There was a crowd of people all taking photos, so I only had a brief moment to slide in and take a few shots handheld.
Right after I wrapped up taking my photo of The Barn at Mountain Valley Farm, the owner suggested I check out the view from his apple orchard up the hill behind the barn. The light was fading quickly, and by the time I made it up the hill, the scenery was lit only by an orangey glow from the setting sun behind the Green Mountains. In my mind, I knew I wanted to compose the barn and mountains against that orangey sky. The question was how exactly to do that?
While visiting Scotland in 2012, I wanted to find a fresh perspective on Inverness. I took a drive north over the Kessock bridge and noticed on my map that it was possible to drive below the bridge and look back towards Inverness on the water. After taking several photos away from the bridge, I realized the bridge itself could be a compelling addition to the photo.
During the same “zoo day” where I took the photo of the painted lorikeet, I also had an opportunity to try a magnificent Nikon 600 f/4 lens at the primate exhibit. The good people at Mike’s Camera had stationed several high-end telephoto lenses around the park for different camera mounts, and photographers could simply attach their camera bodies to the lens of their choice and start shooting. After waiting a short time in line, I was able to get some time with this extraordinary lens (which Mike’s Camera has available for purchase for a cool $10k).
On one of my visits to Poland in 2013, I brought along a Fuji X100S camera instead of my usual SLR gear. The X100S was a brilliant little camera with a rangefinder styled body and a single fixed 35mm lens – meaning you couldn’t zoom in or out. Instead you had to “zoom with your feet” – shifting your point of view to find the right composition at the right moment.