A Chance Encounter

November 16, 2012 by Jason Hines

I got the best compliment on this photo from my wife. Normally her comments on my work range from “That’s nice” to “Mmmm Hmmm”, and the occasional “Ewww”, and once, (I didn’t speak to her for the rest of the night), she said my image looked like a postcard. This time however, she said “Wow, that’s art!” I have to say that I’m happy to have such a compliment from her :) .

About This Photo

I was walking along the Virgin River and I began to notice these interesting patterns in the sand so I scouted around until I found a leaf in the right place. As I was setting up and framing my shot the gentle water carried a second leaf to a stop right next to the first. I was happy to include the second leaf with the first which seemed to stop there just for my purposes :) .

Do you ever stage photos like this? Personally, I don’t like to stage my photos but I see it all the time, particularly this fall at Zion. I saw a photographer open a ziplock bag full of leaves she collected on her hike to the Subway and place them in strategic positions for her compositions, there was another guy splashing water onto an area of rock to make it wet and more pleasing for his image. My favorite was when I was shooting at the Subway though. I was setting up to take this shot and another photographer who was shooting next to me actually picked up a handful of leaves that were naturally in my foreground to move it to where he was shooting! I was so stunned that someone would do that but I just laughed to myself, moved forward and recomposed my shot.

It’s all personal preference I suppose and I mean no offense to those who do stage little scenes like this (except the guy at the Subway who stole my leaves), but I always prefer natural looking scenes. How about you?

A Chance Encounter


  1. Len Saltiel says:

    I can see why she said that Jason. I love everything about this image. It is art!
    Len Saltiel recently posted..Indian Burial GroundMy Profile

  2. Daryl Clark says:

    Very well composed shot. I like how not only do you have the patterns in the sand, you can also see where the water has moved the sand around the leaves. It just “Flows”.
    Daryl Clark recently posted..Where to go NextMy Profile

  3. Marty Cohen says:

    I’m with you Jason on shooting what you find and not staging it. Although, I will admit to removing distractions from a shot on occasion, not unlike doing that in Photoshop. But nature is so wonderful in the ways things just happen naturally, and that’s a large part of the fun of shooting landscapes. I like this shot a lot. Fall leaves are great subjects.
    Marty Cohen recently posted..The Lines of AgingMy Profile

  4. Erin Duke says:

    Art, indeed! This is a great shot, and like Daryl said, it “flows.” I also agree with not staging a scene. I’ve been asked many times why I don’t move things around when I comment that “I wish this was over there next to that!” I tell people, “Because that’s not the way it really looks.” I know nobody else would know if you moved things around, but isn’t that part of the adventure we call photography? Finding a scene that exactly suits what you want. :)
    Erin Duke recently posted..Autumn, RevisitedMy Profile

  5. Deb Scally says:

    I will admit, like Marty, I have removed a stray blade of grass from a macro, or slightly tilted a leaf to get the right angle, or removed a distracting tourist from the background in PS, but 99% of the time, I agree– it’s the thrill of the hunt for the right composition that is most fun and exciting. Finding the perfect elements through the lens is the payoff for the work!
    Deb Scally recently posted..Autumn art…My Profile

  6. Adam Allegro says:

    I’ll admit, I frame shots from time to time, but I would never intentionally interfere with another shooter’s scene. Nice shot Jason, artistically beautiful!
    Adam Allegro recently posted..Motion in the OceanMy Profile

  7. What an awesome photograph, Jason! Love the convergence of the abstract with nature in this one, it creates a really compelling image to take in and enjoy my friend!
    Toad Hollow Photography recently posted..The Fog Of WinterMy Profile

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