Friday, May 31, 2013

The rewards of Patience and Persistance

Photo Tip of The Day:  Persistence and Patience, when you want to give up; wait just a while longer.

Persistence and Patience are often the two lacking ingredients needed to capture the illusive image.  Wild life photographers know this better than any of us, but it rings true with most photography even fashion, photojournalism and travel. Sometimes I feel God teases me, waits to see just how badly I really want that 'special image’.

A couple of days ago I was shooting on a mountain top in the Colorado Rockies.  After the above videos were shot the rewards of these two continued to avoid me until my fingers hurt and my lips were so cold my speech was slurred.  I was cold.  It was late.  I’d been at above 10,000 feet with my back to a howling cold wind for a couple of hours waiting and waiting.

The mountains were covered in a haze, the sun hid behind a thick layer of clouds.  I tried to at least find art in the snow on the ledges across the canyon.  There was still no shot.  It had been cloudy all day and there were few signs anything was going to change.  I was more than discouraged and tired.  I was ready to crawl back into the SUV and roll back to the base of the mountain.  There it was late spring weather and warm enough for short pants and sandals.

Just before I folded the tripod I heard something behind me.  I turned to find a herd of about forty elk walking single file down the mountain.  Just as I noticed them, they spotted me.  Some elk turned and scampered back up the mountain.  The rest froze watching me.  I was able to slip my IPhone out and snapped a few shots.  After a while I guess they felt I wasn’t a threat anymore and they walked past not far from me and on down the mountain.

At one point I found myself somehow between a mother elk and her young one.  That's when I knew it was my time to gently find an exit.  Thankful for the personal elk experience but still discouraged at not getting my mountain top sunset I packed my gear climbed up the mountain to my SUV.

I sat behind the wheel trying to get warm and fighting the urge to give it up and turn for home.
 It had been cloudy the entire day I really had no hope at this point of any changes.    Then I thought to myself, ‘There is still sun behind the clouds.  It had not set.  Maybe somehow I can find it through the mountains ahead.  Ever astonished at the sheer drops with no guardrails, I drove on around the bends and found another location.  There, beyond the mountain range I saw a hole begin to break in the clouds just below the sun.  My hope was renewed.  I would have never seen it from the other location.  I pulled my gear out and hiked as far as I could to where the ground ended and air began.  There I found another hiker standing on the edge of the ibis, waiting for the sunset.

I found my angle and waited and waited but this time I’d found a hole in the sky.  I knew unless it closed up the sun would eventually drop right into it and lay light across the mountain peaks.  By now the park had actually closed and a park ranger arrived asking everyone to leave.  He let us wait for the sun to lower.  Then in a burst of light it dropped from beneath the blanket of cloud and lit the entire mountain range.

I took my shots, got the address of the hiker so I could send him a print, thanked the ranger and began the two hour drive back down the mountain.  I was content.  I had been ready to pack it in and leave empty handed. 

Patience and persistence had rewarded me again.

(The shot is above.  This is the basic raw and unprocessed image.)

1 comment:

  1. Larry, I loved reading this story...and then to SEE the photo
    Shot of the sun with the hiker!!! awesome!!!
    please post more! Michael, the boys and I so loved being with you when you came through!! much love, from all of us,