How to Win Photo Competitions – read all about it! The Story Behind – Sunset on the Road to the Snow
So this is an occasional series where give a full account of a particular image… in this case it’s all about there is no such thing as a great photo – well not in your mind AND someone else’s…
My original photo story went something like …
I had been out shooting and it had been a loooong day as I neared Jindabyne for the night. Any kind of sunset looked remote however that all changed in 5 minutes flat! A very quick detour found this track and then the sky obliged nicely. I like the way the cloud points to the centre of the image, whilst the track leads off to the edge. No wait – that shouldn’t work…. but…
A few more details:-
What you don’t see.
It had been a Day in the Mountains. Days have twenty-four hours and it seemed like I had been out for all that time. When I noted a loooong day in my original story I meant it. I had been up for, shall we say, a non-sunrise around 5 am, shot in the early morning light until 8 and then, well let’s be honest had another hour’s sleep. A quiet hour or so in my room, and then the absolute luxury of lunch out in a cafe in the centre of Jindabyne. Back to the room to pick up the gear, then around 1pm the hour’s drive to Charlotte pass followed by a 10 km walk in the mountains. Up and down and up and down I went. Absolute bliss, just as good as life could get. However, also a little tiring!
But. I hadn’t timed the day so well. I was left standing back at the car-park at Charlotte Pass around 90 minutes before sundown. So – if I stayed that would be around another 2.5 hours until I finished shooting, and there were clear skies so sunset didn’t look a great option. So I started driving. And the then clouds changed. And then a rainbow came out. So I stopped and shot that. At two locations. And then the clouds began to come over, and I shot them. And the clock ticked… I was getting a bit closer to Jindabyne. And dinner! And a beer!
As I neared the lake I looked to the west, and high clouds and slight colour had started to form. It couldn’t, could it? After all the odds… ? So I hung a swift right and drove back up the road to Thredbo. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. One eye on the road, one eye scanning for foreground. I eventually found this driveway, with some nice rocks around, and jumped out of the car and for the umpteenth time that day. I quickly unlocked the tripod legs and shot a few frames, both Sunset and Reverse before the light faded. And then to Beer! Then Dinner! And bed.. with an early alarm of course…
What I saw Afterwards
Ah, back at the computer a few weeks after, I was reminded of Country. There is so much ‘country’ feel in the Monaro region. And of course, everyone calls it ‘the snow’. I wanted to capture that ‘in the snow but not in the National Park’ feel to this image. So we have the driveway to a farm, and a fence. The foothills and the mountains overlooking everyone each day. And the Big Sky helped finish that feeling.
Am I Happy?
Yes, I got the feel of country, good foreground, nice lines, and overall it has the essence of what I tried to achieve.
Canon EOS5D Mk III ~ Canon 16-35 F4 @ 16mm (of course) ~ 1/125s freehand-blended with 1/15s ~ F8 ~ ISO 100
The twist in the tail
So, I got home and did as I always do, chose a few best images to process and then when I am happy put them onto Facebook and Instagram. I thought no more for a few weeks and then for no reason a thought entered my head – ‘I wonder if the Good Folks at the Snowy Council might like to see some of these?’ So I Googled them, and to my surprise, found they had a Photo Competition running.
Now, as a landscape photographer, if you enter any photo competition you normally get to keep the rights to your image. However, with any government department it is slightly different. You essentially give away the rights to the image. So for me, that means I can’t sell it. So I had a quick rummage through the archives and selected five more images, those I hadn’t used yet, and entered the competition.
A few weeks passed, and I got one of ‘those’ e-mails telling me I had won!
I had taken a vertical alternative to this image which I had initially not selected as it did not have the Strong Lines that I like. However, it did have great rock as foreground, the type of rock which you see everywhere and does also scream ‘Monaro Photography’.
10/10 – but not for this image!
The moral of the story? If you do landscape photography, nature photography, or indeed any kind of photography, you will not necessarily know what your best images actually are. let other people decide 🙂
I may not have told you how to win photo competitions, but I hope I have made you think.
The Berowra Photographer. Well, the Snowy Mountains Photographer this time.