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A few years ago a student asked me a question whether I thought he should buy expensive glass or spend more money on the camera. His instructor told him that he should buy the most expensive glass, as this would give him the best possible images. My response to him was by the equipment that you can afford to buy, but the best way to get good photographs and become a better photographer was to get out and photograph. We sometimes get so involved with our equipment, Photoshop and working on the computer that we forget to actually go out and make good images.

As I was teaching an HDR workshop this weekend and was out shooting with the students, I started talking about making sure you explore the area that you’re photographing. What I mean is just don’t point your camera at one area and assume that’s all there is, take a moment and look around and explore the area around the corner.

As it turned out I needed to take my own advice. I was showing the students how to do an HDR photograph manually with a seven stops; I was photographing in the locker room of the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club for this photo. I had taken a couple other shots in this building and thought I had covered everything that I wanted, but as it turned out I was sadly mistaken. One of my students had set up a camera in the bathroom that I had not even taken a look at, as I was showing him how to shoot the HDR photograph manually I realized that this was the shot for this building.

Now a shot in the bathroom is not something I’d normally photograph, but this particular bathroom had a lot of character and as an HDR image I knew I could bring that character out. I have found out that while I teach other people to photograph I also learned a lot from them and sometimes see things from her point of view that I normally wouldn’t. So in the end I guess I need to take my own advice and explore around the corner for an image that I might’ve missed. I think looking around the corner is good advice for taking a photo, or for living your life and see more of the world.

This is the kind of sale I think I need, one photograph, one million-dollars. The only catch, Peter Lik is only making this print once. Here is the press release for more information:

Calling it “the best shot I have taken in my lifetime,” world-renowned photographer Peter Lik has sold his first million-dollar photograph, which he calls One: a fleetingly beautiful nature shot captured on the banks of the Androscoggin River in New Hampshire.  The purchase amount for this work places Lik in rare company.  The buyer, a private art collector represented by Joel Ehrenkranz of the law firm Ehrenkranz & Ehrenkranz LLP, completed the purchase in December and asked to remain anonymous.

Taken just after dawn, amid breathtaking New England fall foliage, the photograph resembles an Impressionist painting more than any nature photograph.  Says Lik, “I will never forget this morning for the rest of my life.  It was calm, and the scent of the fall forest filled my lungs.  The mist cleared, and a magical reflection in the river briefly appeared   White birch trees, black trunks, a kaleidoscope of foliage combining to reveal an illusion of three dimensions.  I pressed the shutter – once – and then the scene vanished with the morning breeze, never to be seen again.”  The single opportunity, the unity of the elements, and Lik’s oneness with the moment and nature, inspired him to name the photograph One.

Here is a link to see this beautiful photograph.

I had my opening last week Friday, and I want to thank everyone that showed up for the show at the Morean Arts Center. I received some great comments about the photos and the book that I’m looking for a publisher. My mother, Judy Van Duinen, flew in from Michigan for the opening, what I did not know was that three of my brothers had flown in and surprised me at the airport. This was a very special opening because of that and I want to thank everyone that attended and my family for showing their support. Thank you all.

Here are a few photos from the opening.

My brothers the next day