Repeated Opportunity


Repeated opportunity is a good thing. Going back to a place that you are drawn to is a good idea. Awhile back, I posted a shot from Owl Creek Pass that is similar to today’s image. That image was taken during our scouting time before the group arrived. After that wonderful moment I said to Dan (tour partner),”too bad the group was not here for this! The odds of that happening in a few days when they arrive are slim.” Then on the day we took the group, THIS HAPPENED! It was as good or better! So glad we went back. I know I’ll go back again on my next visit, I want to see what else might happen!

If you’ve not read Chuck Kimmerle’s recent thought provoking blog post, you can and should read it here.ย  After you read it, come back and share your thoughts about this image. Is it cliche? Does it matter? I’m interested in your thoughts.

[Tweet “Cliche or not? And does it matter?”]

This entry was posted in B&W, Colorado and tagged , , , , .


  1. Barbara K November 5, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    Glad u went back too! Majestic scene!

    • JB November 6, 2014 at 9:36 am #

      It was pretty good huh Barbara! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Paul November 5, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    Isn’t discussing photographic cliche’ on a photography blog rather cliche’ ?

    Glad we went back, fun the first time, more fun the second time as the first time was just chance and we went without any expectations, the second time was when we experienced something magical, lightning striking in the same place twice…

    • JB November 6, 2014 at 9:36 am #

      How Cliche’ Paul…

  3. Steve Zigler November 5, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    John, I don’t need to read anyone’s blog to know this is a great shot. Filled with depth, dimensionality, and mood…I really love it!

    • JB November 6, 2014 at 9:35 am #

      Thanks Steve.

  4. Karen Messick November 5, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    Yeah, OK I read Chucks blog…and here is what I think…Shoot what makes you happy! Who cares what anyone thinks, over-processed color landscapes instead of black and white, if that’s what makes one happy do it! That’s my mantra! Chuck also shoots what makes him happy and he makes lovely images in his style, however, I don’t like it when one photographer bangs, like they are some super guru critic, what makes someone else happy shooting or processing. Better to just proffer an idea and let someone grab it if the idea works for them. But hey that’s what makes the world go round! It is good to stretch your skill set by doing something different and not creating the same “cliche” image…but really even with iconic scenes have you really ever seen the “same” shot? Lovely image and scene JB!

    • JB November 6, 2014 at 9:44 am #

      Karen, how do you really feel? ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually my initial take was very similar to yours, but Marty’s comment and I’ve modified my thoughts. While I think Chuck (as mentioned by Bruce) can be strongly opinionated, he is trying to raise the bar as Marty said so well. I even called Chuck to discuss his post and he admitted that his written words do not always come out as eloquently as they appear in his head! So, I don’t think Chuck is telling anyone what they should our should not do, rather he is challenging us move beyond the obvious or dare I say cliche’ and find our own unique voice. Hard to do, but maybe more rewarding.

  5. Bruce Sorrell November 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

    I could not have said it better than Karen did if I tried ! She nailed it. We are all entitled to our opinions, but we have no right to impose those views on our fellow photographers. As to what is a “cliche,” one could argue that a shot of a small and picturesque New Mexico village, taken as the sun went down, coupled with a moon rising over distant mountains might be a cliche. But I don’t think Ansel would agree with that. : ) I do believe our social networks afford us all great opportunities to learn and improve in our techniques. But it is not a bully pulpit from which *experts* should dictate what we chose to photograph. And FWIW, I found the didactic tone of Chuck’s writing to be a serious distraction from the points he was trying to get across. Slainte !

    • JB November 6, 2014 at 9:44 am #

      Don’t be too hard on Chuck. Read my response to Karen. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Chuck Kimmerle November 7, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

      Bruce, how exactly does writing in a blog post “impose” anything upon you? Are my suggestions and views so powerful that you are now at my mercy? If so, I truly apologize.

      • Bruce Sorrell November 8, 2014 at 7:25 am #

        Good Morning, Chuck ! Looks like my choice of words was off the mark to the point where I may have offended you. I apologize if that is the case. Slainte !

        • Chuck Kimmerle November 8, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

          Bruce, I am not at all insulted and there are no hard feelings, at least now that I know the meaning of the word didactic ๐Ÿ™‚ We all have our opinions and you wouldn’t be the first person to disagree with me. I admit I do get preachy, but it’s because I really do care about photography as an art. We’ll call this one a draw and blame Barclay.

          • Bruce Sorrell November 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

            I could not agree more, Chuck ! Barclay is clearly to blame.: )

  6. marty golin November 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    One man’s clichรฉ might be another’s classic, but the point of Chuck’s blog is well taken IMHO. If he is holding our feet to the fire, will you say OUCH? If you are comfortable, confident, & perfectly happy with your images, I expect he would want you to ignore him. If not however, I think he’s giving a reasonable point of view for us to consider & evaluate in how we find & make our images. While Cole Thompson’s photographic “isolation” may be a bit extreme for many photographers, to develop a personal vision/style/eye/whatever it is, one must be diligent to at least recognize as consciously as possible (I believe 100% is impossible) what is influencing us.

    • JB November 6, 2014 at 9:46 am #

      As usual, insightful comment Marty. Thank you for getting me to think on this one a bit more. I believe you are correct I think Chuck is simply trying to challenge us to discover our own images. And that is a good thing.

  7. Felice November 6, 2014 at 2:43 am #

    So many seasons and reasons for shooting! Chuck is a fine artist; he strives for his unique vision which may have nothing at all to do why you, me or anyone else shoots. What a gift to be so connected to our inner process that we know when we nailed it. It’s a conversation between shooter and subject. I shoot less and less when I’m out there these days. I want to feel that connection before I click the shutter. I wish everyone can lose themselves in their art!

    • JB November 6, 2014 at 9:46 am #

      A conversation between shooter and subject…. I love that. Thank you Felice.

  8. Donnie Fulks November 6, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    For starters, it’s six letters not four. (I’m hoping readers will find the sarcasm humorous!) Outside of the initial arithmetic trouble, a good, worthy point was made: stretching onself beyond the obvious can yield rewarding images. There’s one key factor that Chuck glosses over too readily: Time. He had weeks on end to pursue his vision. Thinking of my own experience, I had the pleasure to visit Yosemite only once, for two days. The locals said it was the best weather conditions for photography in a year, in fact as good as it ever gets. The large format view camera guys were exposing film as fast as I could hit my shutter button at Tunnel View. So yes, I took as many of the iconic shots as I could. I’m thrilled every time I glance at one of my “cliche” prints on the wall. Frankly, I could care less if everybody since Ansel has something like it. I just wish I had the luxery of time, weeks instead of days, to capture more beyond the cliche.

    • JB November 6, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

      A very valid point Donnie.

      • Bruce Sorrell November 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

        Is it possible, John, that what Donnie’s point reveals is that there is no one, singular animal know as “photographer ?” There are those with abundant time (Chuck) and those with considerably less (Donnie). And there are those with minimal experience and those rich in years of shooting. How about those who wish for nothing more than a clearly focused and properly exposed shot of their child’s first tentative steps vs the pro working for a living ? It’s hard to envision how one can preach a recipe for success to so many differing faiths. : ) Food for thought ? I hope so. : )

        • JB November 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

          A valid and well stated point. thanks for chiming in Bruce.

          • Bruce Sorrell November 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

            Thanks, John ! And many thanks for lighting up this very interesting discussion. Slainte !

    • Chuck Kimmerle November 7, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

      Donnie, while I understand your point, the issue of time is irrelevant. The vast majority of my images are made on visits which are only a couple of days if not just a few hours. The residencies are anomalies. Weeks or hours, I approach all of my photography exactly the same.

  9. JB November 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    You’re welcome Bruce. And to be fair to Chuck, I would think his audience is a more mature photographer for the most part. That said, your comment is why I responded on Chuck’s site with an exception. I do, like Marty, understand what Chuck’s intent was. To push folks to find THEIR unique vision and avoid the Cliche’. But again, my philosophy differs a bit from his in that I’m reluctant to say something is over done or not acceptable…. To whom would be my question. Totally fair that Chuck does not like oversaturated cliche’ landscape stuff. I’m fine with that.

    • Chuck Kimmerle November 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

      John, I don’t dislike oversaturated clicheโ€™ landscape stuff, I dislike color in general ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Paul November 8, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    After contemplating the many arguments and discussion threads pertaining to the blog post from John, Chuck and the many highly stimulating points made by those commenting, I have concluded a week of deep thought with the following observation:

    I love derivative and cliche’ art, including photographs… it has occurred to me that derivative and cliche’ photographs derive from derivative and cliche’ paintings, derived from derivative and cliche’ sculptures, derived from derivative and cliche’ cave paintings. The champion of derivative and cliche’ art involves the nude. From cave man times when Thog scratched an image of Tang the neighbor’s wife on the cave and got in trouble from his wife..”what does she have that I don’t?”, to sculptures by natives, to paintings of the dark ages and later the renascence, to the first daguerreotypes, to film and now digital, NUDES have never lost their appeal, yet are the epitome of cliche’ and derivative art. So Chuck, do you appreciate nudes, or are pictures of beautiful people just too cliche’ and derivative for you? I myself, really don’t have a problem enjoying the site of a great nude once in a while.

    Love you Chuck, and I very much enjoyed the couple of days we shot in Death Valley a couple of years ago. Now back to viewing nudes… JUST FOR RESEARCH OF COURSE!!!

    • JB November 8, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

      Hysterical Paul. Only you with your deep intellect could add such valuable insight on this topic.

    • Chuck Kimmerle November 8, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

      Paul, I think it’s important to distinguish between artistic nudes and pornography. Artistic nudes fail when done as derivative cliches as creativity and vision are more important that boob. However, with pornography, boobs and butt are the primary ass-ets and can overcome many lapses in artistic merit.

      • Paul November 8, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

        Good point Chuck, but one man’s pornography is another man’s art… I guess I really don’t know how to define pornography but I know it when I see it. Oh, and I’m a little confused by the comment, “creativity and vision are more important than boob.” I don’t understand what you are saying, there’s something more important than boob???? what a strange concept, have to think about that one for a while. Thanks for the smiles, Paul.

        • JB November 8, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

          And this post had such a good discussion going….. I give up… ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Karen Messick November 8, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

            And now we know the rest of the story! It all comes down to a little T&A!! Well done!!

          • Bruce Sorrell November 9, 2014 at 7:09 am #

            This was quite the romp, John ! We must do this again sometime. ๐Ÿ™‚ Slainte !

          • JB November 9, 2014 at 8:10 am #

            At this point I’m afraid, very afraid! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Dennis November 9, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    John, you initiate the best blog discussions. After all of this, what is cliche’ to Chuck and to anyone for that matter can be a fine line. A beginning photographer might find a calendar type scene a great capture–and be excited. Good for them. I see some cliche’ in Chuck’s work–so be it. What is constant is that discovery and growth in our work is the excitement and is so fulfilling and makes our perception hunt for the the next great image. Isn’t it great!!

    • JB November 9, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

      Glad you’ve enjoyed this one. It’s been fun.

  12. Denise Bush November 16, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    When I go to a popular location I like to capture the obvious and then go on to find more original takes on the place. I don’t think that is necessarily ”copying’ if several photographers come away with similar images. It just means the obvious has called to them all in much the same way. With so many people into photography these days it can be difficult to feel original. I think it would help if photographers were more intent on finding their own subjects and scenes rather than asking ‘where did you get that shot?’. After many years of frequently photographing in groups I’ve finally come to realize I do my best when I am on my own. After all, it’s about SELF-expression isn’t it?

    • JB November 16, 2014 at 9:34 am #

      Well said, Denise.

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