I love National Parks, but don't necessarily relish the idea of shooting within them.
Because they're over-photographed - particularly those in the southwest. It can be quite challenging to make a photo that is unique. That's one of the reasons I so enjoyed all those years I was based in New England. Certainly there are well-known locations there, too - but not as many. (And only one National Park.) One must often search for compositions in an environment which is more intimate.
That said, when in Rome.....
Currently living in the Intermountain West, that's where I'm shooting the majority of the time. Parks are abundant!
Last week I spent a few days working in Utah's Arches National Park.
I'd carefully organized my days based on the research I'd done and the forecast as predicted. Quite soon it was obvious I'd be tossing my plan out the window, as a massive low pressure system ended up parking itself over Colorado and churning wave after wave of changeable conditions into southeast Utah. The forecast bore no semblance to reality, as Mother Nature mixed it up with a little bit of everything. It was extremely cold. It was so windy the camera shook even when secured to the tripod. It rained. Clouds rolled in and out. The sun would appear - and just as quickly it would become overcast.
As frustrating as this was, I would much rather contend with somewhat unruly weather than completely clear skies.
Though I wasn't able to make some of the shots I had hoped for, other excellent opportunities materialized which I could not have foreseen.
Case in point: one late afternoon/early evening, after having spent much of the day chasing both the light and the weather from one end of the park to the other, I ended up spending nearly four hours photographing storms moving in and out behind iconic Balanced Rock. This sandstone formation certainly qualifies as one which is over-photographed. Earlier that afternoon, I could see storms forming in the distance and took a chance that they might end up arriving at this location. If so, and if the late-day sun would continue to show its face from the opposite direction, I knew the lighting would darken the stormy skies and the rocks would take on warm color.
The gamble paid off.
So while Balanced Rock is often photographed, I got something unique that day. And since I was the only one there, not only was I able to enjoy the "show" in solitude, I also know my images are the only ones which chronicled what happened during that window.
If you do your homework, if you're observant, and if you're persistent, it's still possible to put your own stamp on subject matter which is perhaps a little too popular. :)