The importance of visualization in photography cannot be overstated, nor should it be overthought. The idea of imagining (or visualizing) an image before triggering the shutter seems to be an essential – and intuitive – element of a photographer’s creative process. The more difficult challenge is finding the situation that brings the necessary elements together (subject, location, conditions – light, season, weather), allowing the vision to be realized.
I had this image in mind for several days and several hundred miles before I was able to execute. During a recent trip to photograph redwoods in northern California, I started noticing poppies along the road somewhere south of Trinidad, initially in small groups well off the coast. I imagined a thick patch of the flowers on the edge of a bluff that provided an unobstructed view from flower to coast. I spent the next several days searching for the right situation – flowers in the right location, mid-morning or mid-afternoon light, and clear conditions devoid of coastal fog and haze. Just north of Elk, a section of road runs above a steep drop to the Pacific – and there was the patch of poppies I imagined. The only element missing from my vision was blue sky…maybe the next time!