Photographic Examples-6-Playa Reflections 1

Alain Briot

Playa Reflections #1

Location as a source of inspiration

During a visit to Death Valley in 2006 I felt inspired to represent this location in a way that I had not thought of before.  Until then, I saw Death Valley as a place primarily dry and inhospitable.  The presence of water on the playa –the dry lakebed that is at the heart of Death Valley— and the presence of clouds, were instrumental in bringing about this change in my perception of this location. 

After working the scene for over an hour, I found that the composition which most effectively expressed my inspiration was one in which clouds and reflections shared the space evenly, a composition in which land and sky were a reflection of each other.  As I worked the scene, I kept thinking of the poem of Robert Frost,The Path less Traveled.  In a way, this poem was the inspiration for this image as much as were the clouds and their reflections.  While the image is not a direct visual metaphor for the poem, in the sense that it shows only one stream of water and not two diverging ones, it does represent a departure from my previous work, a step towards an artistic path onto which I had not previously traveled.

Alain Briot
Vistancia, Arizona
November, 2010

About Alain Briot

Alain Briot creates fine art photographs, teaches workshops and offers DVD tutorials on composition, printing and on marketing photographs. Alain is also the author of Mastering Landscape Photography.  This book is available from Amazon and other bookstores as well as directly from Alain.  You can find more information about Alain’s work, writings and tutorials on his website at

Alain welcomes your comments on this essay as well as on his other essays available in Briot’s View on this site. You can reach Alain directly by emailing him at