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July 6, 2014 - Jennifer Brookens
It was about two years ago that taking pictures for the Sentinel became one of my regular tasks. Fortunately, I had a photography class in college (and I also thank God for digital photos, because my darkroom skills developing film were less than great).
The professor I had for that class was full of oddball advice I still incorporate into my daily routine (such as his mother's saying of how you can't make chicken soup out of chicken poop). But the one that's really been sticking with me lately is "Turn around to take the picture." His point was that when you're out taking photos, and you've got a subject you've been taking pictures of, turn around because there may be another (and even greater) photo opp behind you. One story to illustrate this point was a storm chaser who was photographing a funnel cloud out on the prairie, and then he turned around to see another forming right behind him!
My "turn around" experiences aren't quite that dramatic, but I've recently seen some awesome sights just by turning around. One evening, I was out taking pictures of the city band concert and after getting some shots I happened to glimpse behind me. There was the most beautiful pink and blue sunset over Sisseton Lake framed by the lush green trees and brush at Sylvania Park. There was one boater out on the lake, making the setting look like a postcard. That shot is now the wallpaper on my desktop at work.
Then there was the backhanded blessing of having a second job that requires me to be an early riser on the weekends when the rest of the world is sleeping in. I had to stop and grab the morning papers, and as I got out of my van, I turned around... and saw a breathtaking pink and orange sunrise peeking over the cornfield. I had my camera and snapped a few shots. I never submitted these photos for the paper since I didn't know how it would replicate in newsprint. But it's a handy piece of advice for any photography enthusiasts out there, and it occasionally applies to other areas of life, as well.
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Sunset on Sisseton Lake