I was going to call this blog “Waiting It Out”, but the term that Chris Johns, the Editor of the National Geographic and a photographer uses is “circling back”.
What Chris means by this is that the perfect time to capture the subject in front of you may not be now. It may happen in a few minutes, a few hours, days or never. The important thing is to have faith that this particular subject will make a fine photograph, because it speaks to you as being something of importance.
This does not mean the subject is “newsworthy”, an amazing scene, or a fantastic event. It just speaks to you. This gives it importance. And if it is really important, are you ready to walk away because the light isn’t right, the subjects aren’t in place or you need to be someplace else?
Fred Maroon, a fine Washington, DC photographer said, “There is always another plane”. It is a good way of saying that many great images take patience to make them.
During all of my workshops I spend some time talking about managing one’s photographic expectations. If you are with a non-photographer or on a tour or heavily scheduled, you have little opportunity to hang back and wait.
And it can be tiresome waiting at a particular location for hours – especially with wildlife, as the moment you were waiting for generally happens very quickly and you cannot stay focused (pun intended) for long time periods. Frans Lanting, a terrific wildlife photographer was once asked how he stays focused to make those wonderful shots. His answer? “Ninety five percent of the time I miss it!”
To keep fresh, do as Chris Johns says and circle back. Leave that location for a bit and then come back to it. But remember to return, as perseverance pays. An article was once done or several of the photographers at National Geographic and after the author interviewed us she entitled the article “A Terrifying Dedication.”
Throughout this blog I have posted a number of images with captions that indicate the “wait times” necessary to capture the image.
Join me for a domestic or international workshop where there is a continuing conversation on subjects like this.