Tuesday, February 23, 2010
There are times in life when you come across something you didn't expect to find. Sometimes you ignore it and are left only with vague memories of what could have been and sometimes you act - you make an attempt to experience and in doing so are left bit changed, a bit closer to what you can become... (bigger versions)
The key is that these situations don't occur with planning - they can't be forced - they can't be learned from a book or taught by another - they must simply occur when life brings the elements together, and even then this only forms an environment of possibility and the choice of what to make of it is yours.
This is an older image from one of the first times I went out hiking with what has easily become my favorite lens. At the time I knew a great amount of information about the technical details of photography, but I was still largely inexperienced in the field. While in some ways it hurts me to see this image because I see so many things I would have done differently and the potential was there in a situation to make a great image but I lacked the skill at the time. In many ways this image is a huge failure, but I keep it because it is one that changed me - it helped me to become better in the future.
At the time I was hiking way out in the woods in an area not easy to get to because it is bound by a major highway and a river without bridges. Most of it has extreme hills and through parts the water from the highway is directed to the river. It isn't an area that sees people often and the ones that find themselves there are probably somewhat like me - driven just to see what is there. I had gone with the intention of looking for birds (an area of almost a hundred acres with woods and fields and hard for people to get to seemed ideal) but climbing out of a valley I came across two baby deer in a side channel. What surprised me was their expression - this because the deer often run and hide but these stayed and simply watched me and my dog hiking through the woods - no fear at all. I only later realized that they had probably never seen a person or a dog yet and simply had no idea how to react on their own - there were no adult deer close by to teach them... So of course I took pictures. When I looked at them later I was unhappy that they didn't reveal what I saw at the time, they were not satisfying to me. This was the first time I was really driven to figure out why, to understand what I had missed and what I needed to learn to get better... as it tuns out almost everything - not one of the choices I made at the time would I have used if I had the experience to do over.
Knowing the details of photography helps in a minor way, but experience and self analysis of failure is really the only way to become better.