The photos behind you
by Alberto Bregani
That may sound like a joke, but it’s not.
Many of the shots you could take (and mostly don’t take) are behind you. They are the shots you let get by. I see it all the time on the photography hikes that I organize. Most people who come on these hikes have a tendency to look around them from left to right, but never behind them, never turning around to see the landscapes and possible shots that they’ve left behind.
People generally assume that those landscapes will present themselves again on the return trip, which may indeed happen if you take the same trail back. But it’s much less likely and, in fact, actually impossible to find the same conditions of cloud cover and light that you had on the outbound trip. You may get the same framing, but you will definitely not have the same light.
Nature never presents itself in the same way twice, not even from one minute to the next. As clouds move, they change the light from the sun, their shape in the sky, or a magical beam of light filtering through the trees and onto the trail. Four, five, or six hours later, on your return trip, that beam of light will be gone because the sun will have changed position, inclination, and on and on.
So now and then, as you head to your destination, stop to look behind you and see what you’ve left behind. A great many times, you’ll find some stunning shots waiting to be taken that you would never have imagined getting if all you did was look straight in front of you.