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Yet another reason to shoot something other than icons. ;-)
By the way - NOT MY PHOTOGRAPH - it is by +John De Bord. 
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I've been there when it's like that, and it sucks. 
Wait...I didn't realize there were other mountains here in Colorado aside from Maroon Bells...strange ;)
I've also been there practically alone, and it's awesome. 
LOL when I went to see Mount Rushmore last year, I wondered how to capture it in a unique way… I guess this group wasn't too worried about being original. :D
I have never been to Maroon Bell, but if I ever do I'll make sure I bring along a pink inflatable raft with polka dots so that I can be in the middle of the lake to take that picture from a different angle ;-)

I have, however, seen something close to this at Bryce Canyon just last week!
On one hand I want to yell at such photographers. On the other hand, when they all congregate in one such place it is less crowded elsewhere. On the other other hand, I might shoot such a scene in absolutely stunning once-in-a-lifetime conditions (but only then). On the other other other hand, among these folks are, I'm sure, some fine people and fine photographers, and even some incipient photographers who shoot this stuff now but may soon learn that there are other things worth pointing a camera at.

I'll bet some of us were in that other other other hand situation at one point, no? ;-)
For me, I do not understand. Why? There are all the, like a swarm of bees on a honey pot. For me-time world, I  lock, and no good, so I see by far . Out of respect for them and above all respect for me.
Sad to see it.   and ridicule.
Is this Hands Across America again?
A person wrote to me after I posted this photo in another place and pointed out, with some justification I think, that complaining about and putting down those who want to photograph a beautiful place might seem a bit pretentious and self-righteous.

She has a point.

While there is something a bit troubling about seeing dozens of people lined up to make the very same photograph, some of us might be a bit too quick to jump to overly negative conclusions. Perhaps there is a way to cast this as a positive lesson, rather than ridicule. So let me engage in a bit of reflection and honesty.

I'm not big on shooting icons. I find it more challenging, interesting, and rewarding to look for things that might not be seen at all if I didn't take the time to see them. However, I have photographed icons (as will be clear if you ever look at my Yosemite photographs) and still do on occasion.

Doing photography is a journey. We all began (or are beginning) somewhere and we are all at different places in the journey. I recall clearly the early discovery stages (not entirely different from today's late discovery stage! ;-) when I was trying to understand how to make photographs, both from the technical and aesthetic perspective, and I looked to the photographs of others for models. I thought about how marvelous it must be to be able to photograph certain things in the ways that great photographers had photographed them, and in trying to understand how they did this I most certainly imitated and even tried to reproduce what they did. And, in fact, imitation and copying have long been powerful and effective tools for learning the basics of an art. Why should it be different today? (One just doesn't want to stop there, right?)

I still photograph icons on occasion. I'll mention two circumstances in which this happens, though there are others. First, if I travel to a place in which such icons are found, I happen upon such icons, and I have not photographed them before, I will often shoot them just so that I have the images in my archive. (Though I'm perhaps not quite as driven towards this as some. I recently photographed in Utah for the first time - really! - and I drove right past things like Delicate Arch and Mesa Arch without stopping.) Second, in places that I know tremendously well - to the point that I'm well beyond shooting the icons most of the time - I will drop everything and head to such places sometimes when I think that truly extraordinary conditions may occur. Yes, this has taken me back to Tunnel View in Yosemite Valley, Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, the Golden Gate Bridge, and others from time to time.

Another admission: When I do find myself at these places with at least a few other photographers around, although I usually prefer to work entirely or nearly alone, enjoys the social aspect of the situation, too. :-)

However, having backtracked a bit regarding the possible insulting interpretation of my original post, I still want to encourage photographers who haven't yet tried it to step away from the icons. Slow down and look around and get to know the inner character of the places you visit, too - and not just the icons.
Really makes me a bit torn between being as open as possible about how and where I get my shots and keeping some details to myself.
+Michael Riffle - Now THAT is a very important question! I've thought about this a lot (and written about it more than once as well) since a time when some photographer friends of mine "called me out" (gently but firmly) for being a bit too specific about certain places that are not yet overrun. It isn't about trying to "keep the photo for myself" or anything like that - it is about two other important things:

1. Protecting as-yet-little-known places that are unspoiled and where solitude is still possible and one of the reasons to go to such places. 

2. Doing people a favor by encouraging them to find their own special places - the world is full of them! - rather than simply rushing to the same special places that everyone else goes to.

I have become a lot more circumspect about providing specific location information concerning photograph made in places where the specific spot isn't all that important or in which it cannot handle a lot more visitors without being fundamentally changed. I encourage others to do the same.

(By the say, a reasonable compromise is to consider where and when and with whom you share the details. I will certainly share with friends and others who I know share my respect and concern for such places, but I might not blast the info out into cyberspace, where the impact becomes much greater and much less controllable.)
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