That quote came from Tom Till, who was one of the leaders on the trip I did to Canyonlands. I don’t remember exactly what the conversation was about when this was stated, but I’m pretty sure it is one of the quotes that will be permanently etched into my mind when it comes to photography. I do know that we were in a rather technical conversation about something (histograms, I think), but I remember it being one of those statements that couldn’t have been said at a better time.
Several people have asked me what exactly is it that has drawn me to photography. My quick response to that is photography is something that requires a lot of analytical thought to do well, and is extremely challenging and at times excruciatingly frustrating. That’s very true, and I’ll elaborate one day on exactly why I say that. But, it makes Tom’s statement all the more relevant. There is something intensely satisfying about taking a great photo. You rarely know it when you actually take it. Probably not even when you look at it on that little LCD screen. Often, the first indication that you have something is when you are quickly reviewing the photos as they are copied from the memory card to your computer. You get the thought “hey, I can work with this”.
Then, you start playing with it. You think to yourself “How did the scene look when I took the picture?”. ”How can I edit this photo to reflect that?”. Most of the time, that’s your guiding principle, and sometimes you find yourself going down a completely different path where you say “reality be damned, this just looks cool”.
Anyway, there is no better advice than what Tom stated. As somebody that makes their living by being analytical, that personality often spills over into my photography. There is definitely a time and a place for it, but I hope I never lose the magic feeling I get when I find myself shooting a picture I really hope turns out to be great. And if I didn’t over think it and I got the shot, there is even a greater feeling when you process that shot and take a second and think to yourself “Geez, what a beautiful world”.
To close out this post, I’m including a photo that I think fits this theme. I don’t think it is great and I don’t think it qualifies as something that stops you in your tracks, but it’s simple in nature and peaceful at the same time. It is a fairly plain shot, but I think it’s got a bit of magic in it. Hopefully you agree…