Endurance is nobler than strength, and patience than beauty. -John Ruskin
For as long as I have been making photography part of my everyday life there always seems to be moments when time is of the essence. Thinking one might miss the next great opportunity. Timing as opposed to time does play a vital role in making a photograph that is “just right”. If one rushes to get the shot does that make it all worth while? More and more a rush to the final conclusion seems to eliminate the most important part of the creative process. We all may and indeed do determine the “important part” in our own way and by our own criteria. There seems to be a far greater reward when time has been taken to experience the moment along with capturing it. You read about these experiences in most all photographers blogs when they chose to write their thoughts that go along with the pictures.
The experience becomes a greater part of the image but, do others understand such things? Do they care? Those are questions that do come to mind but, should they? First and foremost a photograph is or at least should be an expressive creation. An expression of the creators desire to capture and then possibly share an experience. It is not easy and more than likely not possible to share an experience via photograph. This scenario seems to lead back to the question of the necessity of rushing to get the shot. What difference does it make to others who will view the final image if they have no way of experiencing the entire before, during and after of the creative process. I believe it doesn’t to them but, it does not eliminate the importance to the creator.
Moments of understanding become part of the creators mindset when time has been taken to experience a situation or place. This understanding does not end once a photo has been taken. It remains hopefully forever. Playing a role in the next experience when all seems right. This building of experiences deepens once understood and instinctively becomes part of future creations.
Photography is not for the faint of heart, impatient, anxious, raring or gung-ho type. It can and has been portrayed as such at times such as the great adventurer never stopping and driven to capture the next great image. Let us not confuse drive, desire or ambition with patience. The first does not stop when they find it, the later does not stop until they find it.
I recently was out exploring in late afternoon and early evening. Late spring in the prairie lands of Kansas is the peak of wildflower time. Lands are awash with foot high deep green grasses some of which are producing blooms along with an array of wildflowers of reds, oranges, whites, purples and yellows. As I drove some familiar back roads I seemed to enjoy every single one I spotted. Many times stopping just to have a longer look. The camera stayed put away next to me. I had a slight urge to take some pictures but I seemed to be receiving plenty of pleasure just being in places that life was so abundant.
Sunset was quickly approaching so I thought of a place or two to head in hopes of some color in the sky to go along with the color springing from the earth. The colors of the skies began to deepen into blues, oranges and yellows. Clouds seemed to be placed perfectly for what was going to be a great springtime Kansas sunset. Right before what I believed to be the opportune time, I stopped. Truth be known I had to stop. In this case it was to have a conversation with one of the important people in my life. As I sat pulled off on a side road the spectacular sunset came and went. There was a time when missing being able to photograph such a thing would have caused a good deal of anxiety. Now, I realize I got to experience two great moments. Having a great conversation AND watching the sunset.
As I proceeded down the road 15 minutes later at a leisurely pace I realized I didn’t miss a thing. I approached an area where the road crossed the Kansas River and thought, well since I’m here how about a quick picture. The spectacular colors of the sunset had faded in the distance. The place I was at was not what I had planned 30 minutes earlier but, now when looking back I recall this wonderful evening. Conversation, sunset and a picture of the Kansas River.
When we take time to slow down there seems to be an opportunity to invite more into our lives. How we perceive that opportunity is up to us. Done all over again I wouldn’t change a thing, In fact I would have liked to been in even less of a hurry.