We were in Yosemite. It was Christmas Eve and a big snowstorm had just passed by, leaving a beautiful white layer all over the park.
There weren’t many people around, but when we arrived at the Tunnel View viewpoint to photograph sunrise, we found a couple dozen photographers and their tripods anxiously waiting for the moment.
The landscape was beautiful. The valley was still sleepy as the light started to hit El Capitan. Everyone was focused on the scene, including me. Everyone but Rachel.
After taking a few shots, I saw her backing up. I thought she was going back to the car, it was freezing after all. But I noticed she kept shooting, in the same direction, and I couldn't figure out what in hell she was capturing.
I walked towards her and turned around. Then I saw it. I remember wondering: "How didn't I see it before?"
As beautiful as the landscape was, this scene was something else: all those photographers lining up at the viewpoint, all making the same images over and over.
I wasn't able to make a great image of them, this snapshot is all that remains. But I still remember the feeling of seeing something that was there, in front of you, that I couldn't manage to see before.
It was an eye-opening moment, a lesson I will never forget. I consider this to be the day when I learned how to see.
Keep your eyes open, always.