By Paul Smithson Phillips

Black And White Sands

Equipment Info
Alamogordo, New Mexco

a picture was taken at White Sands National Monument. It's a late afternoon shot. I had been scoping the area out for a couple of days. I was out to get the typical yucca plant shot during the golden hour. I still had time to kill before show time. I was close to the subjects I was planning to work. There was severe clear conditions at the time I took this picture. Generally that makes me isolate the subject and background. In this case I started taking pictures in black and white (not that it matters in raw). The contrast between the sand and the cloudless sky really made it pop. I knew the area and I was aware of the tree. It's probably the only tree at the monument. The sand behind the tree created a nice bowl. The bowl accented the shadow from the tree. While I took the first shots the moon was a distraction and it's position made it a bad element for the composition. I had time and was able to let it move into a more acceptable location. Additionally, at first, I was not happy with the vine in the sand. I was looking for the typical undisturbed ripples. After looking at it for a while, I realized I needed to embrace the unwanted element, not run from it. I realized it made a good leading line and as the moon came around I could keep it in composition. I know some photographers turn their nose up and fold their arms like Mussolini when someone mentions composition. So, to you, composition, composition, composition!

Date Taken

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