I was working near Wausau Wisconsin earlier this week. That part of the state is marked by big granite hills, rivers and lots of hardwood trees. The fall colors were spectacular! I had brought along my camera gear and marveled at the beautiful trees all day long on Monday. The plan was to get out and shoot through sunset.
After finishing the work day, I checked into my hotel, changed clothes as fast as possible and pointed the car toward the Eau Claire Dells county park. I had never been there before and the pictures that I had seen were impressive. As I made the 30-minute drive, I passed large stands of maples, oaks, birch and other trees that were in full fall foliage. While speeding down a county road, I could see the late-day sun skimming across the brightly-colored treetops. About 20-minutes into the drive, I saw a very interesting broken down, abandoned farmhouse tucked into a stand of red and yellow trees. Looking in another direction from the house gave a postcard view of tree-covered hills in the distance. I thought briefly about stopping to photograph there, yet was determined to make it to the Dells.
Well, I finally reached the county park. It was big and impressive. Of course, the park was tucked into the valley along the Eau Claire River. There was no light left in there and the colors on the trees looked dull. The photos that I had imaged were gone. As I drove back toward the hotel, the scene around the abandoned farmhouse had gone grey, too.
I guess I learned the lesson again: When you see a great shot, stop the car and take the shot!