The place where I didn’t take a picture

Sometimes, when I trip the shutter, I know.

I know I’m in the right place, the right time, and looking at the right thing. I know the shot I just took worked.

That place is where I want to be.

Sometimes, I’ll trip the shutter and hope. I’ll hope that what I see is translating to the emulsion. I’ll be mostly sure I have what I want, I’ll be fairly certain, but not completely.

That place is not perfect, but it’s not a bad place to be either.

The opposite of that is when you put your eye to the camera, frame the shot, and just can’t bring yourself to trip the shutter. You know it’s not going to work. You know the result is nothing you’re going to want. In fact, you know the result is just going to aggravate you. It’s going to be a reminder of how you missed it, and how you almost succeeded. It’s not a failure, but it’s not a success either, at best it’s a muddled mess you kind of wish you didn’t have.

shoot-425In a way, that’s not the best place to be. It’s certainly not productive. Especially when you have a goal in mind. You’re trying to make work for a project, or you’re trying to get a specific shot of a certain site you’ve hiked miles to get. Sometimes it’s you. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s the light, or the clouds, or the rain, or too many other people cluttering up a spot, or too few people to give it a human interest. Regardless, you’re not making progress.

But still, this is a good place to be.

Realizing when you’re banging your head against a wall before you actually hit the wall is pretty nice. Being able to see the frustration coming and just stepping out of the way to let it pass while you wave and escape unscathed makes life more pleasant.

The best trick to make that place a better place to be? Put the camera down. Breathe. Center yourself. Just be in that moment, and enjoy it.

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