Composing a Photograph: 3 Lollipops of White Pocket

#1  Composition:  Standard view of the Lollipop from White Pocket

The Lollipop of White Pocket is the most recognizable feature of this incredible area. It located right in the center of the sandstone goldmine and gets the late afternoon sunshine. I was shooting here after a summer monsoon as the clouds were just clearing. Blue sky was coming out but the light wasn't going to last forever with the clouds coming and going. They seemed to get thicker as time progressed, taking away the beautiful blues in the sky.   

#2 Composition Sandstone swirls act as leading lines
to the Lollipop Formation
These three compositions were shot one after another, each with the 17mm tilt-shift lens to prevent vertical distortion. One features a classic shot with the whole lollipop with landscape orientation. That's the shot on top.  The second is the sandstone portrait orientation shot on the right.  This has great lead-in lines and a wonderful point on the Lollipop that really catches my attention.  

The last with a small green bush below. The bush introduces another subject to this location.  This adds a great foreground subject that gives some variety in its' color and texture.  It really says more about the living plants in the rough terrain that the other two photos don't suggest.  

#3 Composition:  This green bush as colorful variety
 and a foreground interest point to the Lollipop
I present these in the order they were taken and in the order in which I walked around the Lollipop and searched for a great composition.  I first shot the standard and obvious shot.  Then I went looking for something different.  

I personally love something about each one:  the clouds and sky are best in #1.  The lead-in lines and pointed peak of #2 are superb.  The vegetation and color of #3 are great but the sky became less blue at that moment.  Composition is the one thing a photographer brings to his art that is completely personal.  It is what makes two photographers with identical equipment comes away from the same place with completely different art.  

So, which is the best?  That's a hard one to answer.  I posted this very question to my friends on the landscape forum.  The response was split between #1 and #2.  One person liked #3 the best.  My favorite is #2.

What do you think?

Sunset Ignites Sandstone

Sunset Ignites Sandstone
The golden hour it is often limited to a golden 10 minutes.  Such was the case as I took this photograph at White Pocket.  The sun was setting very fast, clouds were intermittently blocking the light but for 10 minutes, the light was entirely golden and incredibly beautiful.  During this time, I composed this photograph.

Nothing Straight at White Pocket

The Curve at White Pocket, Arizona
Having spent a good amount of time and White Pocket, I still have a few interesting things to share and post.  This photo is from the Gateway section of White Pocket.  I call it "the curve".  The white-topped tower is approximately 70 feet tall.  Because of surrounding structures, this does not give direct light at sunrise or sunset.  However the midmorning is an excellent time to photograph this location.  The sunlight illuminates the red, orange, tan colors beautifully.

I also discovered that laying on the sand dune behind the white-topped tower is an excellent place for shelter during a storm.