I miss a lot of opportunities to take photos. Some I miss because of my schedule, others I miss because I’m lazy, but two nights ago was the first time I missed a photo opportunity because of sheer timing.
I’m driving home around 8:15. Ahead of me, a nasty incoming thunderstorm, the clouds low and pitch black. Behind me, a brilliant sunset, the sky lit up in an intense golden hue that, coupled with the low clouds, was creating a crazy lighting situation on everything, including the glass and steel of the high rises downtown. My camera was with me in the car, loaded with Ektar and ready to rock. I was passing by the exit for the perfect spot to capture the light off of the buildings. The photography gods had smiled upon me!
I turned off and parked a few blocks away from where I wanted to shoot. I knew there was maybe 10-15 minutes of light left so I hustled to get to my spot. But, unfortunately the light deteriorated and I didn’t get a chance to take any photos.
I was bummed! Even though I hadn’t planned to shoot, the conditions were so perfect that I expected to get these photos, and I think that’s where my problem lies: expectations.
When I set out to do something, I have a good idea of the end result, and that can definitely be a disadvantage in photography. It means I do my homework and do a thorough job of scouting where I’ll shoot, but I will be the first person to talk myself out of shooting because conditions aren’t 100% perfect. I then get demotivated to do anything photography related. It’s a vicious cycle.
The situation with the awesome lighting conditions was a step in the right direction to correct this perfectionist thought process. An opportunity presented itself and I tried to take advantage of it. It didn’t work out, but it was a good lesson in how quickly light can change and how risk is necessary to capture good photos. It’s also a good thing for me to keep in mind that this isn’t the last Florida thunderstorm at dusk I’ll ever experience, so I’ll have to make the most of the next one!