Making Lemonade from Lemons

Clouds in the Valley, Black and White

Sedona, AZ


On a recent trip to Sedona Arizona for the Sedona Art Festival I had the chance to test out the philosophy “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade”. You see, I had travelled to Sedona, my first out of state art festival, with the hopes of doing well and breaking into a new market for my photography. And while I did meet a lot of great people, and gathered new interest in my work, it was not a good festival for me as far as sales. In fact, it was a bust. That was due in no small part to the first day being mostly rained out. I found out after I got there that Sedona was experiencing an October that was 600% above average in rainfall. So the normally reliable nice weather for the festival was not such a sure thing, and Saturday ended up being a soggy, wet afternoon. Lemons.


Here is the part where the lemonade comes in. I awoke Sunday morning and decided to go up to an overlook above the city and see if I could capture any nice images before the festival started up again that day. Sure enough, when I got to the hilltop I saw that the slowly clearing storm from the day before was moving about the red rock formations creating some fantastic scenes. I chose to use a long lens on my camera and focus in closely on some of the rocks and clouds and see if could create some interesting compositions of those. I didn’t have a lot of time, and I wasn’t really sure if anything I had gotten was really a “keeper” because I had in my mind it would be best if the sun came through, and it did not cooperate. I worked for a bit and headed back down the hill to the festival.


Clouds and Red Rocks

Sedona, AZ


The day following the festival was another sunny day. Not a cloud in the sky in fact. I was able to use this opportunity to explore the area, and, when it got close to sunset, make my way to an place where I could photograph Cathedral Rock, an iconic rock formation near Sedona. I knew the general area where I was going, and thanks to the help of some other local photographers I found my way to a couple of the best spots. After spending some time at a decent location while the sun set, I really found my favorite spots in the early twilight. Wishing I had been there during sunset on the rocks I made my exposures anyway and figured that I would at least have it scouted out for next time. Such is the way it goes sometimes in working at a new location. I made some images as the twilight came on and left in the darkness, not sure if what I had would be what I really wanted from this fabulous location.


Cathedral Rock and Barn

Sedona, AZ


When I returned back to Colorado and began top go through my images I discovered that the overcast cloudy morning images were really quite nice. And a couple have become my favorites. The evening images from the second day of shooting were a pleasant surprise as well. Contrary to my desire at the time for direct sunlight, the softer glow of the post sunset twilight actually allowed softer pastel colors and the contours of the rocks to show much better, and with a little work, they really became nice studies of Cathedral Rock. I also like the black and white versions I created of some of the scenes. They have that nice, soft quiet quality that I am often drawn to in monochrome images.


So I guess the take away for me was not only when life hands you lemons, make lemonade, but also, to quote the Rolling Stones, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need”. Always a good thing to remember, in life as well as photography.


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