At the beginning of each road trip, I’m always a little excited at the possibility of finding a great scene. Not necessarily at the location I’m intending to visit, but rather a scene that’s along the way. And when I was driving through the town of Santa Ynez, California, I was more than excited to come across this particular scene. I’ve always been a fan of scenic valleys like this. Valleys that aren’t overly cluttered, and hills for days. And when a little bit of the sun broke through the clouds and shined down on a portion of the valley I couldn’t resist pulling the car over. When I got out of the car and walked over to the scene, I was happy to see that it was better a scene than I originally thought. And with the clouds drifting by and constantly changing where the sunlight was shining, I took a seat and waited patiently.
I’ve written before about how I don’t like to rush for the sake of a photograph. I would much rather enjoy the scene in a relaxed state rather than scramble to set up. If I’m honest there are still times when I do a bit of scrambling. Times when I’m set in one spot only to see a better view for instance. Of course, the photographer in me simply has to get to it before the best light is gone. But in most cases, I’ve learned to just chill. I don’t want to force a shot just for the good light. My priority these days is to simply enjoy the scene with my own eyes first. This is just such a scene that I didn’t rush anything for.
Enjoying The Show Before Moving On
There was a safe place to pull over which made it easy to stop the car. And the first thing I did was walk to the scene and take in the view. What I loved about this was the metaphor it served in my own mind. My road trip with my cousin was just beginning that morning. We had already covered some miles from L.A., but still, we were far from where we intended to go. And the thought that came to mind when looking upon this valley was that life was just beginning to grow there. The small patch of water seemed to begin creating a stream for itself, curving into the valley. Grass was starting to grow, trees had sprouted on the hilltop, and animals were starting to populate the land. It was like seeing the very beginning of life for this valley.
And while I sat there and waited for the sunlight to shine on exactly where I wanted, that thought filled me with a lot of good vibes. And sure enough, I got the sunlight I was waiting for. I only got this one shot with the light I wanted before the clouds covered up the sky again. But I like to think of it as Mother Nature telling me that there was still much more for me to see that day. She gave me a show and ushered me forward on my journey.
On a technical note, I thought about cloning out the patches of dirt in the foreground, but I felt that it fit with my whole “beginning of creation” them. Just thought I’d mention that for anyone curious about it.