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on Sep 25, 2009 in Landscape Photography

Setting Sail after DLWS

DLWS was great but it has left me beat. I don’t know if it’s because we spent last week on the same grueling schedule shooting in Reno as DLWS or that I’m getting old. Whatever the case, my butt is dragging. Like I mentioned, the start of the week for me was pretty sad. I just couldn’t make the transition from high velocity race planes to rocks.

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As the week progressed on, the mind and more importantly the heart got in the swing of things. There is this illusion that just because it’s believed that you can take cool images that it happens every time you go out or pick up a camera. McNally typically asks at least once during a workshop how often I get skunked, as in, I got out and came back with nothing. I’ve written about this on this blog many times and yet, the expectation seems to be, you go out you should be rewarded with images.

Well we drove down today from Ba haa ba to Freeport on a really spectacular day. Great light, great clouds and even with that mix, there wasn’t one place that seem to speak to me to shoot (but the L.L.Bean store spoke to my AmEx). But here’s the deal, if you don’t go out, you’ll never have any opportunity, not to get skunked or get the great shot. You gotta go out, you’ve gotta try to make things happen if nothing is happening at all. Last night after shooting cracks, the light didn’t want to come out to play and in my mind, I was back to Monday morning, trying to make something happen. Then Stephanie came along with her youthful energy and we brought out the flash and the jump. And the images started to fill the card.

I watched photographers pace back and forth, heard the snide comments about being at a stupid place at a stupid time. And there’s my all time  favorite, “I’ve got that shot already.” This is what I always say every time I have a griz in my viewfinder, knowing I have 42k images sitting back in the files. And 0f course I saw folks sit down in boredom and disgust. And man, it was terrible having to sit on a romantic ,rocky, Maine coastline watching the waves roll in, listen to the bouy bell’s ring as Eiders floated by. Heck, I would much rather have been in an office, staring out a window! I always wonder if this attitude reflects in the images captured, the joy of just being fortunate enough to be out even if you are getting skunked compared to thinking you’re owed the experience and image and not getting it. I count my blessing every time I’m skunked with the camera in my hand, just being out is reward enough for me.

I often have the feeling the ship has sailed for many a photographer before they even set one foot out of the house. Letting the possibility of getting skunked in to the thought process and using that as a challenge might just improve their photography. It might just improve their photographic outlook and in the end, bring the reward they think the effort of just getting out owes them. For myself, if I knew that every time I went with a camera I was going to come back with the great shot, I probably would stop going out because there would be no expectations, no challenge. Like I reminded folks all week, head out with an open mind and open heart and no matter what the counter says, you are ahead of the game by the end of the day.

Photo captured by D3x, 45PC-E on Lexar UDMA digital film