We all have one, to be honest we all have a number of them. Those locations that didn't work out on the day, the only day or time we had there, and we missed. They stick in our minds and bug us, like fishermen who are landing a huge fish, and after a good battle they are nearing the net, only to see the prize slip from the hook and elude capture, here's one of my 'fish'.
During a road trip to Grasslands National Park I found a tree on the Saskatchewan prairie that was perfect. Sitting in a clear dip in the land, and able to be picked out of the landscape entirely, leaving only the sky behind it as a background, what potential. Except on the day I was there it was green, lush spring green with a blue sky behind and more lush green grass in the foreground. I grabbed a shot in order to remember the location and potential but it didn't do justice to the possibility here.
Months later I found myself passing the location in the fall, it's quite close to the main highway, so I turned onto the gravel track and made the detour. This time the little cottonwood tree was turning, past it's best but still beautiful. The grass in the foreground was dried and yellowing in the late autumn sun. I drove a good way past as planned, and then stopped to make the shot. I used the 100 - 400 mm lens at 400 mm with an aperture of f5.6 to blur the foreground further reducing the impact of the grass and better isolating the tree. The low sun clipped across the top of the grasses in the foreground and caught the tree with all it had on the day, but that wasn't much. The setting sun was weak and shrouded in low hazy cloud, leaving the sky a flat fading blue.
Don't get me wrong, it's a nice shot, but it's not the shot I had envisioned. I still believe the right sunrise here would make for a spectacular image, that's the one I thought of as soon as I saw the location.. A good sunset might do the same as the tree can be shot from either side but there could be some composition issues due to access constraints from the other side. A milky way over the tree, starlight shot with a little light painting, or star trail shot could also work, but for me the right sunrise is the shot.
In the mean time I'll make do with this image as a reminder of one of my top ten 'one that got away' locations.
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