I’m an ideas person; I have little difficulty coming up with concepts for images I would like to make. I see potential photographs all the time. But too many times, I’m just not ready for them. The way I see it, good ideas are only worth 25%, technical execution – as important as it is – is only worth 25%. The other 50%: being there.
Take the other night, for instance. My partner & I were walking the dogs, and we could see the top of the fog bank off in the distance starting to turn pink from the setting sun. As we watched, a spectacular moon rose through the top of the fog bank, ethereal and huge. I tried desperately to capture the scene with my iPhone, but with no success. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, unprepared to do anything but watch and wish for a camera and a better location.
Then we found out that the moon was to be completely full the next evening. I checked the time of the moonrise, saw that the skies seemed relatively clear, just a bit of haze on the horizon, so I headed to Fort Howe, where I knew there would be a good view of the moon rising over the city. I arrived, watched the sun set in the other direction, took photos of the clouds, the flags, the seagulls, other people… and the moon did not appear. Was the sky too hazy?
I got back in my car and started sorting through photos on my camera, and suddenly noticed movement to the right of me – another photographer, intently snapping photos. I turned around, and there it was, a stunning red moon rising above the city.
So what did I learn from this almost-missed opportunity! First of all, to plan ahead, to make a note of locations I want to go back to, places that would make good sunrise or sunset viewpoints (and to find a better source of information, because the moonrise time I had checked was 45 minutes off). And, more importantly, to get out the door – too often I stay home processing old photos instead of getting out to take new photos. Don’t just dream about it: be there!