The Photographer’s Life

17 Jun
Photographer's Life

Photographer’s Life

When I see a beautiful image, it always gives me this magical feeling.  I get a sense of longing, of wanting to be there, of imaging how having that memory for myself must be.  It makes me covet the moment I see captured within the frame.

What I don’t think of, however, is the difficulties I will have to overcome to get to that moment.  For example, this image was from my recent trip to San Francisco.  The model on the right of the frame – another photographer whom I do not know – grounded the image for me. Otherwise, it would have just been a pretty sunset with no subject for the viewer to focus on.

Now…the realities of making this shot.

On location, this hill from which we were shooting was anything but remote.  It was crawling with other photographers all trying to get a shot of the sunset in front of me, and the city and bridge behind me.

Furthermore, I live in Connecticut.  Cali is about an 8 hour flight for me (with layover).  Friday, I went into work early so that I could leave work early.  I drove an hour and a half to the airport in Rhode Island (best deal and timing of flights).  I got on a plane around 5pm.  I got into Cali around 11pm (which to me, with the time difference, was 2am).  My friend David picked me up at the airport, we stopped to get water and snacks, and then he dropped me at the hotel.  I finally went to bed around 12:30am Cali time (3:30am Shannon time).

We got up for sunrise just 3.5 hours later.  The whole weekend, in fact, I expect I got about 11.5 hours of sleep in Cali, and another 4 hours on the plane ride home…which, after landing I had to drive straight back to work for the day.

This particular sunset, was at the top of Slacker Hill, which – I believe – is a bit of a misnomer.  We got to the base of the trail and it said 0.4 miles.  How hard can 0.4 miles be, right???

Did I mention 0.2 of those miles were almost straight up? On only a few hours of sleep?  And low blood sugar, since we hadn’t found time for dinner yet? Oh, and by the way, San Fran has a micro climate and a serious wind issue when you get that high up so I had 5 layers on to stay moderately comfortable.  It was 90 degrees and I picked up a sunburn earlier that day, and had to wear two coats at the top of the hill. haha

Truly, in the grand scheme of things, these things are hardly worth mentioning as obstacles compared to full day 10 mile hikes I’ve taken, weather I’ve endured, pain I’ve put myself through, etc to get a shot….but the point is, there is often a huge disparity between the calm beauty of a scene, and the reality of the environment in which it was created.

So, now that I’ve seen this sunset, I think of this shot in two ways.  The image itself resonates with me.  If we consider this solely as a piece of art, then for the sake of art, I enjoy the scene…the beauty of the sunset, the colors, the fog lending it a mystical air, the lone figure in the foreground taking it all in, giving you a sense of what it was like to see it firsthand…

On the flip side, I also remember being exhausted, sweaty, chilly, sunburned, my recently repaired knee aching, and the muscles in my legs burning.

More than that, I remember feeling determined.  I remember feeling a sense of awe that I…little old me…was strong enough to follow her heart, to see the world, to take in what mother nature had to offer, to be brave enough to ask another photographer, Michael, to tag along with them that night (because sometimes, I’m awfully shy).  I remember feeling lucky.

Most importantly, I remember feeling grateful.  The hardships and discomforts of a photographer’s life are immensely outweighed by the sense of rightness, the joy of creating something beautiful and the value of the memories collected in the course of pursuing the right light and location.

In my house, I have a print hanging on my wall that says “Do more of what makes you happy.”  It represents a choice I made a few years back to bring more value and meaning to my own life.  Today, I wish the same for you.

Whatever happiness is for you, I hope you fill your life with it and hold tight to the joy it brings you.  In the end, all we have are our experiences.  Fill your life with as many good memories as possible, never underestimate how important they are, and appreciate how lucky you are to have the opportunities for small joys in your life. I hope you find your version of a photographer’s life. 🙂

23 Responses to “The Photographer’s Life”

  1. another door June 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    Wow !! Great photo..

  2. June 17, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    Really, I was amazed with the photo.

  3. jlmphotos June 17, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    Man I hear ya. That’s how I roll — sleep on a plane. Never when out shooting. Come Sept I’m off for 8 days in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I working all day then getting on a flight out of Philly. On my return on a red-eye which gets back into Philly at 6:30a I’m headed back to the office.
    However, the images are all worth it.

    • seeingspotsphoto June 17, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

      Lol the things we crazy photographers do for the shot, huh? I hope the trip goes well though, and you come away with some great shots!

  4. Ines June 17, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    The photo is beautiful and I was really surprised by what you wrote – I never thought about it that way! And it’s so true! I hope you were able to relax a bit after all these adventures 😉

    • seeingspotsphoto June 17, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

      Lol I just finally am starting to feel like I am caught up on sleep. But I wouldn’t trade experiences like that for anything. I’ll have plenty of time to sleep in my older years…in the meantime, I plan to collect as many memories as possible! 🙂

  5. Nelson June 17, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

    Behind each there is story and sometime the photo does not say a word about it ….. i think it’s a very beautiful photo, the sun, the clouds and the contrejour silhouette …. very beautiful

    • seeingspotsphoto June 18, 2014 at 2:46 am #

      Thank you so much Nelson! It was so incredibly beautiful in for real life…I’m glad I was able to translate even a fraction of that into an image I could share. 🙂

  6. 2multo June 17, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    You got the shot, though. That’s what matters.

    My theory is that the steps, difficulties, “slow-downs”, are part of the ephipany of creating. Maybe, part of the impetus, too? What makes it art I mean.

    Again, you got the shot. And a surreally fantastical shot by the way. As we say in El Lay–“Noice”!

    • seeingspotsphoto June 18, 2014 at 2:43 am #

      haha That was a spectacular visual accent. 😉

      Thank you for the kind words! I did get the shot and I’m so very glad I made the life choices that keep leading me to these beautiful scenes, landscapes, moments and shots.

  7. photosfromtheloonybin June 18, 2014 at 1:41 am #

    Well said and stunning photo!! I, too, am trying to do more of what makes me happy because life is just too short :).

    • seeingspotsphoto June 18, 2014 at 2:41 am #

      I agreed with you. The only things you regret are the things you never did! 🙂

      • photosfromtheloonybin June 18, 2014 at 10:52 am #

        That’s why, even though we have tons of debt, my hubby and I are going to Europe this summer to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We will always have debts, but we may not always have our health to travel. Plus I have been reading a lot more and cleaning my house a lot less LOL! Cleaning is overrated, but reading soothes my soul :).

      • seeingspotsphoto June 18, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

        Hence why I have a small house…much less dusting and vaccumming needed! hahaha

        Congrats on the 25th anniversary!

      • photosfromtheloonybin June 19, 2014 at 10:59 am #

        Thank you 🙂

  8. Justin Avery (J.T. Avery Photography) June 18, 2014 at 11:51 am #

    One thing that I love about my photographs more than the way they look is remembering what it took to get some of the shots. Having to trek through obstacles, deal with sub zero temps, climb up steep cliffs, or take a long hike. In the end, it’s generally worth it. I always take a few shots, but never forget to just sit there and enjoy the moment. You always have to remember to enjoy the moment as it is happening as that is part of the experience. I couldn’t imagine just taking the shot and leaving. Great view and great shot!

    • seeingspotsphoto June 18, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

      Such a good point! I agree, the memories are as much a part of the art as anything else! 🙂

  9. tybeetabby June 20, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Beautiful photo. You are very right, it is the added detail, like the lone figure and the fogs/clouds that make all the difference.

  10. Graham Stephen August 3, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    splendid silhouette

    • seeingspotsphoto August 3, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

      It was truly a beautiful moment. I’m so glad I was able to experience it and capture it!

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