Nat Geo Travel sent photographer Matt Moyer on assignment to capture Florida’s landscape, wildlife, and people. Here, he shares why a good enough picture isn’t enough.
I had spent an entire day photographing the fortress of Castillo de San Marcos in Saint Augustine, Florida. I shot from every possible angle: low and high, near and far. I photographed visitors inside and visitors outside. I spent hours with a group of teens on the seawall as they caught fish and took selfies. Afternoon light came and went. I was tired and thirsty and I wanted to call it quits. I had made a ton of good enough photos, but when has “good enough” really been good enough? I needed something more artistic, something that hinted at the mystery and majesty of the Castillo. After all, this fortress was originally built as a defense against roving pirates pursuing Spanish treasure, and it had never fallen in battle. It deserved a picture that went beyond the conventional.
I had just about given up when those warm floodlights began to glow against the Castillo’s walls and that deep-blue, post-sunset sky started to work its magic. A photo with the drama commensurate with the Castillo’s storied history started to take shape. But it was the last element—larger-than-life shadows climbing the fortress walls—that completed the image.
Photo Tips: Always push yourself to look beyond the conventional and pursue the unexpected. When you think you have a good enough picture, push a little harder to go beyond “good enough.” This tip has nothing to do with what’s going on in the camera and everything to do with what’s going on in your head.
Photographed with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens.