The Decisive Moment

The photographer Cartier-Bresson coined the term “the decisive moment”, to describe how important timing is to good photography. But he was mainly talking about taking photos of people. The decisive moment for landscape photographers almost invariably has to do with the light, which is ever changing. This is especially so when dealing with storm light. When the light beams of the setting sun pass through the aperture of a narrow gap between the lowering storm clouds and the horizon, the light is filtered towards the yellow. This provides a yellow “wash” to that part of the scene that is so illuminated. In this photo, the cottonwoods across the river were illuminated in this fashion, while the cottonwood on this side of the river (the Rio Grande) was still in the shade, and thus silhouetted. This instance of storm lighting lasted only a moment. I was fortunate to have grabbed my camera and run outside just in time to catch this decisive moment.


About believesteve

I am a photographer and have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: I have also published two additional iBooks: 1. The Salt River: 2. Coyote Buttes:
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2 Responses to The Decisive Moment

  1. Jackson says:

    Nice one, Steve!


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