"Turn around" is maybe the best bit of photographic advice I ever received. It's free, easy, takes almost no time, and often results in surprisingly interesting photographs. And yet, it is unexpectedly hard to do.

It's seems like such a useful technique would become second nature but it was years before I regularly remembered to look behind me. Here's my best guess as to why this is: when there's nothing "interesting" ahead, I'm inclined to keep moving but when there IS something compelling, well, I don't even think to look away. The benefit of turning around, of course, is that the stuff behind us, and more importantly, the light on the stuff behind us could be WAY more interesting.

Turn Around

Death Valley Is My Home

Which brings us to this photo -- shot while I was taking landscape photos in Death Valley National Park. As I turned around to leave, I spotted these tiny plants sprouting through the parched and cracked mud flats. To me, this was far more interesting than the dramatic (but common) scene now behind me.

In any case, this photo is a rather good example of the serendipitous things that can happen when we remind ourselves to "turn around."

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