Somebody at Photoshop World, and forgive me since I don't remember who it was, said to their class that the worst photo is the one you don't take. I've been trying to remember that whenever I mentally try to talk myself out of taking a shot. One that's not perfectly set up, one where I think the lighting sucks, one where I have to go out of my way. I've been trying to just take them all since it doesn't matter if it's perfect or not, as long as I'm taking photos.
Yesterday morning I was driving home from the morning karate instructor academy workout. I hit a nice clear view area on my drive, looked off to my left in the distance, and saw a snow-capped mountain top sitting right next to just a plain old brown mountain top. The plain brown one was obviously a much closer distance, and a much lower altitude, but I thought that was really cool. I didn't stop and take a photo at that time for 2 reasons. 1) I didn't have my camera (and if I had, I wouldn't have had my zoom lens on it most likely), and 2) I really didn't have time since I had to run home and eat lunch before going to my private lesson. I put in my back of my head to go grab a photo this morning after dropping Peter off at daycare.
I set up the camera last night, and almost didn't grab it this morning since it was 45 degrees outside, but then I remembered that cool view, and tossed it in my car. After dropping Peter off, I honestly wasn't sure exactly where to stop to take it, so I headed back towards the dojo and figured I'd turn around at some point, and find a good spot. Nothing looked good until I drove past the Majestic View Nature Center. Nothing in the way of the view, just clear grass, a pond, some trees off in the distance, and some distant houses. A perfect venue.
I snapped off a few, trying to follow the tips I had picked up from the Composition Digital Field Guide by Alan Hess, and then decided to try a few HDR shots. That seemed to go well. The funny thing is, in my mind I had a view of the shot I wanted. When I got out there, I did take that shot, but took a bunch of others, and got one similar to my mental image, but better:
Finally I turned to head back to the car. At the last second before opening the door, I looked up past the car, and saw a house with a bunch of colorful trees around it. Even though our weather had been weird lately (cold, really windy, then warm again, then cold at night, etc...), the leaves on these trees decided to hang on for awhile longer. I re-set up the tripod, and came away with this bonus shot:
This HDR I processed in Photoshop, but again enhanced it in PhotoTools.
Both of these photos I took within 5 miles of my house.