You know how it goes, one look out the window, and the sky looks bleak. You almost talk yourself out of going but something inside you resists the voice of reason telling you to go back to bed.
As you drive to the location you see a faint blush of colour in the East. You start thinking ”Maybe, just maybe”. By the time you pull up and park, that blush has transformed into a purple glow and you’re now cursing yourself for not getting up 40 minutes earlier.
Panicked and rushed, you drag your poorly arranged camera bag, leave the car and then shamble down the sketchy rock face with reckless abandon. You’re cursing that 2kg telephoto lens, 2 jackets, and a boatload of pointless accessories that won’t be needed for this shoot. Your heart is racing as you think ”Will I get set up in time before this light show fades off?”.
With trembling hands, you yank the camera out of the bag, slap it on your tripod, and breathe a sigh of relief. This is short-lived as the ‘memory card full’ warning diminishes your chances of getting your shit together in time for this fleeting moment. You also realize you just dropped your lens cap in the wet sand, that’s just great.
You clumsily fumble for a crusty old memory card that still has some videos of the Faroe Islands circa 2019 but there’s a smidge of space left on it so you accept it. Just as you’re focusing on your first composition the light goes into overdrive while all earthbound subjects begin to glow an almost eerie red colour. That’s the moment that your battery (currently at 19%) decides to give up the ghost and breathe its last breath.
You stomp over to the camera bag in a fit of rage, plop the battery out of your B camera, stomp back to the camera on the tripod and switch out the battery. At this point, you can’t decide if you’re enraged or enraptured, the two emotions war within you as you finish framing up your first shot. You shoot that first frame, check the focus, and then decide you are indeed enraptured, rage swiftly forgotten.
Like a maniac, you rattle off several frames, making adjustments to the composition while muttering to yourself and occasionally punching the air in exuberant joy. You hear a ”Wow” from your loved one who’s just decided to leave the warmth of the car to join you on the beach so you turn around and give her the manic grin of triumph. It’s a golden moment that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.
These are the moments that we live for. As frustrating and dangerous as they sometimes might be, it’s impossible to live a full life without some element of risk or sacrifice. Bagging the shot is just part of what I call ‘The Landscape Photographers Condition‘. The rest is that inner war, that delicate balance between crushing disappointment and ecstatic success, and also that indomitable spirit that we all share. No matter how many times we make the walk of shame, it’s those rare golden moments of spectacular light, perfect tides, and fumbling fingers that make life worth living.
Hopefully, that resonates with you.
On another note, there are just 3 days left in my panorama print sale over at https://www.gavinhardcastle.com/ if you’d like to support my channel and get yourself a lovely Xmas gift, go spoil yourself 🙂