Sometimes you sit there. You sit, and you sit some more. And then, after a long day, you might say ‘forget it,’ and leave.
The next day you return to that location you’ve so carefully picked out, waiting to get the right sky and lighting conditions for your shot. And…Nope. Skunked again. So you wait and wait. And then do it all over again the following day. We’ve all been there.
All we need is a little patience…
Patience in the photography world can apply to a lot of things, like having the discipline to move yourself if the composition from your perch is less than good, or if a branch or person is in your way. Or, to use your tripod when you know you should, even though you just HATE it and really think you can get a ‘good enough’ image without it. The list could go on and on, really, but this piece is going to focus on having patience while in the field in the face of disappointment.
Now, what do we mean by that?
In landscape and/or wildlife photography, we’re often counting on things beyond our control in order to be really successful. The animals have to come out, the sky needs to provide some nice light and clouds.
Perhaps you are in Yellowstone, looking to photograph bears. Some days they may be out, creating bear jams at seemingly every turn. Some days they just won’t be.
You might be at Yosemite in winter, with intentions of capturing a sweeping landscape of the Yosemite Valley, blanketed by snow with El Capitan glowing in the soft light of evening.
And then a record breaking snow storm might just sock everything in for five straight days. That’s bad luck. How we choose to handle disappointment comes from having patience.
With photography, patience is not only a virtue, it’s a necessity. Having patience is necessary if you want to get that perfect, and original shot. Or to wait for light, or know when to let it be and move on. To be ready to go if, while in the middle of that five day snowstorm, the sky unexpectedly breaks for a half hour and gives you a chance to rush back to your composition and capture something before the clearing is gone.
It is also necessary to salvage a day, or a week by being able to patiently think outside the box. So the blizzard takes away any chance at your sweeping landscape image of the valley, by remaining positive, and patient, you’ll have the wherewithal to look elsewhere for great images that are around you, and possible.
Perhaps think smaller with a winter forest scene.
Maybe you find a duck floating on a pond with a misty background of snow covered pines, or an old church in the mist. Maybe there is a shot behind the sweeping landscape scene that brought you to this perch?
Those are nice images as well, and can be salvation of sorts, after losing a day, or a week to crippling sky conditions.
Patience is truly a necessity if you want to last long-term without losing your mind. Because sometimes you must sit there and wait. And wait. And wait. Sometimes to no avail. Or, to just not exactly what you’d prefer conditions to be.
Anyone who has spent real time with the art of photography can certainly tell you that it takes a great deal of preparation and skill to capture a truly amazing image. You can’t simply just pick out a location, get there, compose and press the button. And you can’t pick your skies, or force an animal into view. Those things require some luck. You bring the patience.
Kenton Krueger grew up and spent the first 33 years of his life in the corn country of Omaha, Nebraska. After studying aviation at the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Aviation Institute, he “conned” his way into the newsroom at the award-winning Omaha World-Herald where for 3+ years he wrote and photographed news articles on a variety of topics such as community events, travel and even mixed martial arts for the sports department. Yet something was missing. While on backpacking trips to Grand Teton and Grand Canyon National Parks in the mid-2000’s he was quick to realize that the wild lands of the western United States stoked a fire in his heart like nothing else could. This realization led to relocation to Flagstaff, Arizona, and he hasn’t looked back. He has spent the past several years guiding guiding backpackers, hikers and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks as well as in the Grand Staircase Escalante in southern Utah. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, newspaper photographer and writer. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.
Don’t miss the next session of BCJ Live!
Video for the Wildlife Photographer
with Russell Graves
Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021
11 am – 12 pm Mountain Time