Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA by Ernesto Ruiz

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Picture Story

Are the best images necessarily created in the most beautiful places? Is there a direct connection between the creativity or quality of one’s work, and the awesomeness of the places one has visited? I believe that the answer is: not at all! For me, a particular experience last year highlighted the notion that the best shot is often just around the corner. In April, a late winter blizzard took aim at Minnesota on an otherwise regular workday. We all collectively groaned about the Minnesota weather... just when everyone had put away their snow blowers and the snow had melted, here comes the big one! But, once it hit, I quickly found myself peacefully at home, looking out the window at a rapidly changing landscape.

I had been absorbed in my daily routine, and so focused on the stress and inconvenience of the storm, that I had not thought about how beautiful it was going to be! And here I was, suddenly with nothing pressing to do, looking out the window at a true winter wonderland. I was struck with the sudden realization that I need to be out there with my camera, enjoying this moment! Enjoying it, and attempting to capture a bit of its beauty, required no fancy pre-conceived location. I simply walked right out my front door with my camera, one lens, and my tripod (and a pocket full of lens wipes!). What followed was one of the most satisfying photographic experiences I’d had a long time. What I love about this image is that a humble little tree in an urban setting was transformed into something that inspires wonder, by the power of a storm and a tightly framed composition.

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