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Taken in the oak savanna near Table Mountain in Jamestown, California, on April 26th, 2014

Photographers are often preoccupied by moments. We spend our days hunting for compositions and aligning elements so that we know where to go when The Moment hits. Now this is a great way to consistently experience great beauty but I fear it also has an unintended consequence: one of taking us out of the moments we’re in right now.

After all, how can you be present in the here and now if you’re constantly thinking about what the place you’re at will look like at some other time? And even when those wonderful moments arrive it’s not unusual to spend that time thinking about what’s next. The light is great now, but what will it look like in five minutes? It’s a common affliction, though perhaps it affects me more than most.

However, on a recent shoot in the oak savanna near my house, there was no temporal displacement of my mind. I could tell that this was the defining moment of the evening and I was present with all my senses. Even after I had taken enough shots to know I had a “keeper” I just sat and watched the scene. I wasn’t thinking about other compositions, other locations, or other times. I was simply there, enjoying being in the moment.

View more beautiful Sierra Nevada photos.

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