A Considerate Photographer’s Dilemma at popular photography locations.

By Ian Middleton

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Popular Photography Locations.

It’s a big world out there, and a world that’s full of other photographers. This world is also full of many great, very well known and popular photography locations. It’s not uncommon to arrive at a location only to find many other photographers already there, lined up for the shot. While this doesn’t always present a problem, on occasions it can do just that.

Obstructing each other's view.

Every photographer has their own style, vision and idea for composing a photo. This means that different photographers can often setup in different positions. But do we take into consideration that our position may actually obstruct another photographer’s view?

Seasoned professional photographer, David Noton, in a video about processing a photo for his brilliant F11 Magazine, talked about a time when this happened to him. He was setup ready to photograph the January 2018 Super Blood Moon rising over Stonehenge in Southern England. An unbelievably rare event and one that is highly unlikely to happen again, at least not in our lifetimes. But just at the opportune moment when the moon rose into the perfect position above the stones, he describes his frustration and anger at a photographer who walks right into his frame far away in the field below. Now it’s highly unlikely that from way down there the photographer knew he was in somebody’s way, but the question does remain: did he even think about it? After all, this was not just another morning photographing the stones, everyone knew this was a momentous event.

A Considerate Photographer

Now I think of myself as a considerate photographer, and always look around me or think about the fact that I might be in someone else’s way. But one morning I was presented with a huge dilemma that really made me think about this problem.

I arrived at Jamnik Church in Slovenia, a hugely popular scene to photograph. It’s most often photographed from a certain viewpoint which places the lit church at dawn with the wonderful conical shape of Storžič Mountain right behind it. Now I’ve photographed this view on several occasions, so know exactly where people stand. Upon arrival there was an uninspiring lack of cloud over this scene, and the sun was rising further to the south. I knew that this classic viewpoint wouldn’t provide anything of interest to photograph, so I took the unusual decision to head down the path leading to the church itself.

Halfway down is a beautiful tree through which the church is also often photographed. But even that didn’t work because, as you can see by the main photo above, the sunrise colour was too far off to the right in the scene. A closer, more interesting composition again failed to produce anything overly exciting. I found one shot but that was it.

My dilemma

I knew that given how the light and scene was playing out, the best composition lay further on. I envisaged a wide angle view with the sunrise colours directly behind. For that, I would have had to get much closer to the church.

Here was my dilemma. Knowing this location well, I immediately looked over to where most photographers usually stand for these classic shots. I could see two silhouettes of two figures and two tripods on the hill. “Damn!” I said to myself. I knew there could be a good chance that I might get into their shot, depending on how close they were framing their photos. The ideal solution would have been to have gone over to them, given my mobile number and said to call me if I am in their frame! But of course by the time I’d done that, the moment would have been lost.

I had two choices, be an inconsiderate photographer who only thinks of his own shot, or continue to be the considerate photographer I am and abandon my idea and head over to where they were. I did the latter.

No photos of the church

As a result of course, I didn’t get any good close up photos of the church because, as I said the sky right over the church was uninspiring. So instead I changed tactics and looked the other way for photos elsewhere. To the south you can also see the beautiful church of Sveti Jošt, which also sits on a hill. When the sun peaked over the mountains I got a wide shot of Jamnik, but that was it:

Sunrise view across to the church of Sv Jost above Kranj, Slovenia. Seen from Jamnik.

Conclusion

Am I angry? No. I would rather keep my clear conscience than do whatever it takes to get a shot. I’m sure that karma will reward me one day for it.

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Disclosure:

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