Then the morning comes

Superstition Morning Sunrise Cactus Saguaro Arizona Desert

(Website note: My images are now clickable and displayed in a handy-dandy lightbox. Please check it out, let me know what you think!)

When you are advancing in your career or just going down the path of life, people tell you never to look back…just worry about what’s ahead. What’s coming. No need to relish on mistakes or even past victories…it’s all about the future.

I think photography may be the one place where that advice is completely wrong. I wont even get into the benefits (for me) of seeing where I’ve come from and how I’ve changed, but mainly want to stick to the physical implications of “looking back.”

There is a trail in the middle of the photo above. I ran up it quickly to get in place for the sunrise (in 34 degree weather…brrrr for this desert rat) because there was a nice cactus that you can see up aways AND it had a nice height to overlook the entire area. I spent some time there, I loitered, I got some shots…but then it was time to go because I wanted to look for some new scenes.

As I was leaving down the path, I remembered how often it’s paid dividends in the past…so I turned around. Obviously we all have our own ideas of good composition, but to me this was the one image I would end up taking away from stopping at this location.

Never forget the value of turning around or looking back when shooting sunrises, storms or landscapes.

I don’t know how to describe the mornings here in Arizona…especially the open deserts. I hope this image conveys it to you. As a matter of fact…and it may seem funny considering all the time I spend shooting out there…but this shot and this particular morning kind of restored or rebirthed my love for photography. Not that it had really gone anywhere…but it had been awhile since I’d been out in the middle of the cactus and rocks…shooting the still morning without a soul in sight.

Kind of like coming back to that one book or movie you never get tired of watching. It feels like home.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/16, iso100)

  • Jim Denham

    Great advice and image Mike!

  • Heath O’Fee

    Good advice, Mike. I’ve been in the same situation, and looking back can definitely yield some great shots…just like this one 🙂

  • andy gimino

    Stunning image Mike! Love the color and the composition. Well done again!

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  • Chris Kenison

    Thanks for the 2¢… and the shot! Great stuff here Mike! It’s a wonderful shot!

  • Eric Leslie

    I think this shot conveys the crisp and cold desert morning very well. Great job!

  • Heather

    Beautiful scene!!!

  • Jesse

    Love the lightbox, nice touch. Oh, and the image is just awesome as well.

  • Steve Beal

    This image speaks volumes as to an AZ desert morning. Beautiful shot! I have a nature/wildlife tour planned in August, I’ll definitely hit ya with details!

  • Justin

    I have been eagerly awaiting more images of the saguaro cactus. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Dave

    Top tip and a great image to illustrate the point. Nice one!

  • Mike

    Thanks so much everyone…appreciate the kind words!

    @ Steve, let me know when you come out!

  • Ted Wendel

    Great image! I am amazed how often the image that catches my imagination is behind me!

  • brian

    kuddos mike.

  • Chris DeAngelis

    Beautiful image! Looks even better on black! Nice feature!

  • Tom Barnett

    Great shot. Great advice. Had that happen many times myself.

  • murphyz

    Nice shot Mike, and good advice. I don’t think I turn around often enough regardless of where I am with the camera. There is that old saying that you should walk around the spot and take everything in before you start shooting; it’s something I need to take more heed of.