Are you creating teasers or pleasers with your landscapes?

Sunset image with storm light in Lake Powell, UT

Are your landscape images teasers or pleasers? I ask this question of my workshop students all the time, as it really requires us to think about HOW we construct an image, and ultimately what kind of viewing experience results.

Think of each image as a visual journey. Just simply associating your image with a journey implies that there is a destination at which the viewer will arrive. Does this destination live up to the journey?

Take this image for example. Photographed during a particularly dramatic evening in Lake Powell, I was ecstatic when the storm clouds parted on the horizon and allowed for several minutes of intense gap light.

This visual journey begins in the lower right hand corner of the frame, winding up and through the image, finally arriving at the climactic “destination” of intense light on the sandstone butte above.

Think about the visual journey in each of your landscape images, and you’ll be creating pleasers, and forgetting the teasers.

Tech Tip: Why I Use Time Machine…(and why you should too)

Powder skiing image of Parker Cook at Solitude Mountain Resort, UT

Alright. I’ll admit it. I’ve long been both a consumer and yay-sayer of all things Apple. As much as despise the cult-like following (of which I’m admittedly a part) and the near idol-worship of anything with a clean-cut apple logo on it…they do, in fact, make stellar products, especially for those of us in the creative field.

One of the most sensible and useful products from Apple is one that you don’t even have to pay for if you’ve purchased a Mac in recent years. For those Apple-filiacs out there, or for those less-informed, here’s the nutshell: Time Machine is an integrated backup system that (when configured) automatically backs up your hard drive (and other external drives if you so choose) every hour. Cool? Sure–cool enough. The best part, however, is that you can actually then enter “Time Machine” and travel back to the state of your HD at the given time of backup. Why does this matter? Because we all screw up, and if we back up BEFORE we screw up, all is not lost!

I’m in the thick of submissions for all the ski mags for 2012/13. Upon relentless inspection of my library from this winter, I found one file to be (gasp) absent. How could this be??? There’s no way I would have knowingly tossed this file (shown above). With palms sweaty and heart rate rising, I dialed up Time Machine and toggled back to the date just after it was shot, but BEFORE the shoot day was edited. Annnnd….VOILA! File found. (Visualize: triumphant music filling my office, fists raised, tears of joy, victory speech…etc.) Apparently, I had edited and processed the file and somehow stripped it of its ranking. At the end of every edit, I delete every image that hasn’t received a (self-imposed) rating of at least one star or higher.

Is this the next Powder/Skiing/Freeskier cover??? Probably not. But it’s sure as hell worthy of finding its place in a submission (especially in a year lean with powder days).

Bottom line? Back up. Often. Better bottom line? Use Time Machine. It’s ridiculously easy, and, most importantly, if you do it right, it will cure you of sweaty palms and a racing heart the next time you realize you blew it. Now don’t blow it, and go back up.