“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This is so true with my Charcoal Kilns capture. I’ve made a small handful of attempts here over the years, starting in 1995 and again in 2010, both with bland results. The digital age of photography brought more possibilities for night photography, and I began to research how to apply this to the Charcoal Kilns. I never quite saw what I envisioned, either in my own work or other images I came across. In the winter of 2021-2022, Margaret and I made two trips to the area. The first time, I forgot a memory card! It was extremely cold when we came out the second time this winter. While Margaret was wonderful, and put up with the cold conditions to help with the capture, my plan still did not really work – accessories weren’t working right, the full moon wasn’t where I anticipated, and so on. But, I was very lucky with my hasty decisions in the field, and ended up with this capture.
I can’t remember where I found this comment, but I’ve found it to be so true with night shooting, where the necessary skills are different from my usual methods: "Immerse yourself in the creative process, look for a special location and do your research. Find the story hidden within, the emotion that evokes. Your goal is to come up with a unique story to tell, a deep emotion to convey, a remarkable message you’ll try to get across combining technique, composition and location power."
As far as what I personally look for in photos, this image is the best I’ve seen of the Charcoal Kilns.