Sometimes It Is Worth It
Early Morning at the Tetons
Some days you just don’t want to do photography. You don’t want to do your blog, you don’t want to clean up the house and being social is the last thing on your mind. All you want to do is lay in that bed, shut the world out and sleep.
The “you” I am talking about is me. There are mornings I wake up and I wonder why should I even try. Insecurity tells me that no matter how many times I press my finger on the shutter release of my Nikon nobody will appreciate the effort or the result. Why should I waste my time climbing up a mountain just to sit there for an hour or two waiting for the light to be just right? Then the light will arrive and I will take the picture. Within minutes I might take a hundred snaps with different f-stops, various shutter speeds. I will under expose and over expose the photos. I will photograph the scene vertically and horizontally and then with all my gear on my back and my camera on my tripod I will climb around on the rocks looking for that perfect angle or perspective.
When the light has gone with great expectations I will hurry back to my digital darkroom. Surely I have captured something glorious that I and the public will cherish forever. I upload the photo files unto my computer. I go to edit the photos and discover they are all trash. No use trying to use Photoshop to save these babies. So I highlight them all and push the delete button. My mood for the rest of the day can be summed up in one word, depression.
So I lay in bed thinking, why should I get out of bed? Most likely it will be another day of failure. Nature and landscape photography is about failure. You delete more photos than you save. You can go a day, a week or even a month without producing a high quality photo. Why should I continue to subjugate myself to failure? I should just stay in bed, resign from photography and let the world pass me by.
Then laying in that bed with the warmth of the covers around me I start thinking about those few photos I deemed worthy of saving and good enough to sell to a stock agency or better yet sell directly to the public. And I remember that feeling I get when it all comes together. Like the photo of the Tetons that I have posted here. This photo was not planned. I was walking to my location for a photo session when this scene unfolded in front of me. I did not have time to think it all out. I put the camera on the tripod and checked my settings, took five snaps within seconds. I didn’t need to take any more pictures. I knew I had it. I did not even look on the screen on the back of the camera to check if it was okay. My gut told me I had made the capture. I knew the print would be in black and white. Having such confidence and knowing that I had captured something nice really does a lot to stroke my ego.
Lying in that bed thinking of that moment creates the desire to again experience such a moment. I reject the negative thoughts and use the positive memories to inspire myself to keep going. An hour later I am gazing at pronghorn running around with a mountain behind them. The light is perfect and it will make a great Wyoming scenic photo. I grab the camera, check the settings and focus. But God does not want my life to be easy. As if on cue all the antelope stop running and they turn away from me. Now I have a great photo of ten or twelve antelope rear ends. I wait and I wait but they don’t move. They just stand there eating grass. They don’t care about my great Wyoming scenic photo. It is at that moment that it occurs to me I should never have gotten out of bed. Such is the life of a landscape and nature photographer. – Craig Getchius
P.S. Please note that if you click on the photo above it will look sharper.