A Composition Challenge

Last week on a photo shoot to the desert I decided to challenge my composition skills by only using a Nikon 50mm f1.8 lens.  It’s a great lens. I’ve found it to be very sharp. And for a geezer who is price conscious, less expensive than the f1.4 version.

By choosing to use a 50mm lens I would have to move about to make the best possible composition. I used a tripod. And because my remote trigger cord malfunctioned I used the camera’s self-timer.

Driving up Arizona 88, the Apache Trail Highway, I turn off and parked at the beginning of the First Water Road. This location is adjacent to the Superstition Mountain State Park where I like to hike and photograph.

A well-defined trail led me toward the rocky escarpment of Superstition Mountain. Giant Saguaro, Teddy Bear Cholla and many other species of cactus were scattered over the desert floor.

I hoped that the images I took would realistically show the desert as I saw it in the mid afternoon sun. I found that my 50mm worked well except when I came too close to the Teddy Bear Cactus. Its spines and barbs just seem to jump out to snag an unaware visitor. An ankle full of barbs was enough warning. I made a note to include a pair of pliers in my bag next time I’m around these jumpers.

After that painful incident when I needed a little wiggle room I substituted my 50mm with my Nikon 12mm to 24mm zoom.

Desert foliage with a background of jagged mountains.

Desert foliage with a background of jagged mountains.

The mountains serve as a wonderful backdrop to the beauty of the desert. Compared to hikes I made last year the foliage this time was much greener. I’m hoping for a spectacular bloom of flowers in March.

This entry was posted in Education, My Work.


  1. Jim Harding February 2, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    Looking forward to my trip in late March to location of your shoot

    • Stu Dale February 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

      I know you will enjoy the trip. Thanks for you comment Jim.

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