It's been a relatively quieter year for business for some reason, so the learning opportunities have been numerous. But to be perfectly honest, the lack of actual work has also been an opportunity to be lazy (lol). When I have taken my camera out for a personal shoot, I tended to stay within the parameters of what I knew. The easy stuff. Until this weekend that is!
I was in an incredibly beautiful place - but the beauty wasn't obvious. I mean - beyond the lake and the trees around it. The first couple of days I snapped a few shots of my kids playing on the beach, and doing some water activities. I wasn't very inspired beyond that. But then, on the third evening, I suddenly felt the need for a good shot. Something unique and new to me. Well, maybe it would be more accurate to say I felt a little desperate. For something to capture ME.
So I walked along the parts of the beach I was familiar with. Yes, it was a beautiful night. And yes, the lake was so still it looked like glass. But I wasn't captivated or moved by it. Until I came across an old rowing boat and a small yacht anchored at the dock:
Well, I should have been more prepared!
It was dark after all - thank goodness for my iPhone and the little flashlight feature! Also, its summer in Saskatchewan - I should have doused myself in bug spray! And, the temperature tends to drop a little at night so shorts and a tank top from the daytime are not appropriate clothing! But, I was excited for this learning experience so I took my first shot. And a second, third...I think I took about 20 shots. Each time growing more and more frustrated that it was anything BUT what I had in mind! The third shot below is almost perfect in my mind, but it looks like it was taken at dusk, not 10pm. I needed that black and white shot!
Sometimes you just need to stop, reset and start over. I was fixated on getting what I wanted! I could see it in my head, and I knew if I didn't get it, I'd be miserable! Patience is a great teacher, and also not one of my strongest suites! But, I started over, going through all I had learned and what I know about the different technicalities around photography.
BAM! There it is! I may have startled a couple people on a nighttime stroll in the dark with my hooting and whooping when I saw it. I know its not pristine - but I got it! I can move on to working on that precision so that the reflection is as clear as the yacht itself. But, I wouldn't be able to tell this was a nighttime shot if I hadn't taken it myself!
Here is a "real colour" shot and another black and white showing the moon in the sky. I did no further editing on either of these. I tried to replicate that blue but couldn't figure it out again - a fluke, and a welcome one!
The next night promised a clear sky with a "blue moon". I was more than anxious for sunset and the moonrise...but I got distracted with the activities around us and before I knew it, the moon had risen! Again, I suffered the lesson that "a photographer should always be prepared". Because by the time I got myself set up, the moon was even higher in the sky. And, in my panic, I didn't get my settings right. The result?:
This is an honest representation of the time wasted trying to get my act together! The potential for a "money shot" in both these pics makes me twitch - because its such an epic fail! All because I wasn't properly prepared! The shot on the right could have been perfect - but the moon was too high to fit in my frame so I only got its reflection on the darkened waters. (insert wailing emoticon here!)
However! All was not lost!
I did manage to get a decent shot of the actual moon itself. It turns out the "blue moon" was mostly yellow anyway, but I am happy with this shot given that it isn't a yellow sphere in in a dark square, but the details are actually visible. Even better, with a little reminder from my mentor/friend (I introduced him in an earlier post - Mikesh Barmeda of MindSet Photography), my great shot became an awesome one:
So, whats the point you ask? It is this: I promised I would keep learning. And I promised I would be honest about my journey because it keeps me accountable to you, my clients and friends, and to myself. I was beginning to forget why I had wanted to pursue this as my primary vocation. I was beginning to lose my love for my art. But I have again realized that the adrenaline rush that comes with grabbing the "money shot" is unparalleled. That the drive to keep trying, and then succeeding is addicting and very rewarding. And that I really am good at what I do, and its ok to say that out loud.
I also have decided that I like shooting at night, and in particular, the night sky. So I am going to invest in a new lens to help me do just that, so that I can keep pushing myself in this particular type of photography. The prairies are, after all, an ideal setting to capture an open sky uninhibited by city lights and buildings. .
Thanks for reading, and thanks for keeping me on my toes! Let me know what you think in the comments below, and be sure to follow and like my page on facebook, and instagram too!
Here are some of the highlights of my recent photography sessions.