Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Turning Around Once In A While Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

16 October 2018

The general prohibition against turning around does not apply to photographers. Its biblical roots warn the penalty is to be instantly turned into a pillar of salt. And even now there is still some uneasiness of older churchgoers about facing away from the altar. But none of those situations are accompanied by a camera.

Ascent. Captured at f22, 1/30 second and ISO 400 with a circular polarizer at 29mm (58mm 35mm equivalent or a normal focal range) and greatly manipulated in Adobe Camera Raw.

On a good long hike, though, a camera is often as essential to well-being as a bottle of water. Even more so. It always provides an excuse to stop.

And not merely to rest but to engage in some higher, even preposterous, intellectual activity like snapping a photo.

So we have always recommended bringing a camera along on a hike. But we've often neglected to recommend turning around when you do.

Seeing where you came from can be rewarding. And, if you're going up in the world, it can be a heady experience as well.

Take this shot, for example.

We were climbing Twin Peaks and waiting for the person in front of us to catch her breath on a landing of the steps that encourages hikers to stay on the trail so the rest of the hillside can recover its natural ecosystem (which does not include people).

So we turned around. And as soon as we did, we pulled out our camera and framed this shot.

There are couple of things we liked about the sight that met our eyes.

So we turned around. And as soon as we did, we pulled out our camera and framed this shot.

The first was the depth of interest from the step at our feet to the distant hills of the peninsula shaping the fog rolling above them.

The second was the zigzag of the steps to the roadway below them and the near hills coming back the other way.

The third was this progression from the warm yellow to the cool blue spectrum through welcoming green as your eye moves from near to far, bottom to top.

Taken together, drawing a breath, the scene gave us a sense of arrival. Of having achieved something.

But it isn't clear, without our headline, that it isn't a descent. That's something you have to be told. So we told you.

It's just as inaccurate to think of it as either a descent or an ascent, of course. It's static. A landscape. The viewer isn't moving despite the invitation of the steps. And it works as a landscape. The eye invited to descend if not the body.

But it wouldn't exist if we hadn't stopped on the way up for a minute and turned around.

BackBack to Photo Corners