Anyone who knows me from my writing or has attended one of my photography workshops, knows that I am a bit of a fanatic when it comes to using a tripod.  In fact, I would rather have a good tripod than a good camera.  A tripod is one of the few toys you  can purchase that will instantly make your photography better.  Assuming of course that you actually remember to bring it with you.

Which, of course, brings me to my story of a mountain biking trip to Fruita I recently went on with my wife, Carin, last month.  We were only planning on doing a little mountain biking and heading back to Breckenridge, but an afternoon storm caused us to cut our plans short.  Rather than just give up and leave, we took a drive in to Colorado National Monument hoping to get some photos of the sun setting just as the storm was clearing.  I always have my camera bag in my car, but couldn’t find my tripod.  I tore the car apart before remembering that I left it in the studio.  So here I was, the king of tripod advocacy, without my tripod.  To make matters worse, the weather and light came together for some incredible views.

I realized the only way to get a decent photo was going to be to place the camera directly on the ground, but if I do that, I need to make sure there was an interesting subject in the foreground.  After a little searching I came across a depression in the sandstone that had filled with water from the afternoon rain.  Using my hat, and some nearby stones, I was able to prop the camera up in front of the puddle to compose the shot.  I also used the mirror lock up and self timer in order to minimize vibration.  The image below was the result.

Sunset in Colorado National Monument
Sunset in Colorado National Monument

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