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Way back in 2004 I was passing through Reno and I stopped for a day to shoot with Cam Zink. There had been a bunch of forest fires in the area south of Reno towards Carson City, and Cam had found an area he wanted to shoot in.  Looking around the area I saw these rock fins on the side of the hill that visually stimulated me more than the blackened dirt and burnt out shrubs. We found one that was rideable and Cam hit it several times while I tried to figure out a good angle.

Orientation and Negative Space

2004 was still the age of magazines, and while a horizontal shot could possibly end up as a double page spread, a single page was far more likely, as was a single page ad. And most importantly, a vertical shot could end up on a magazine cover, so I shot a lot of vertical images. When I'm checking out different angles I like to examine negative space, and think about where various elements like titles and text will fit into an image. I'll often look at a bunch of different horizontal and vertical possibilities considering different usages before I figure out what I'm going to shoot.

With my knowledge today this could have been a far more exciting shot if we'd decided to wait until the sun was a lot further down in the sky, leaving the right side of the rock fin mostly in shadow, or shot at sunrise when the right side would have been lit but the entire left side would have been in shadow. That would have made for a beautiful B&W image. I don't know for certain if either of those angles would have worked, back then we had no easy way of knowing exactly where the sun would be at a given time. Nowadays I use an app called "PhotoPills" that can show me visually where the sun will be at a given time on a specific day.

After being sent around to various sponsors and magazines this shot ended up being relegated to my archives, I don't actually remember if it ever ran  anywhere, although the smudge of pink ink in the corner makes me think that a photo editor or intern wrote something on it at some point. Does anyone remember seeing this anywhere?

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