Any landscape photographer knows that getting the perfect shot isn’t just a given. It takes a whole lot of patience and, sometimes, a lot of trips back to the same location to shoot the same thing under different lighting conditions. You and your camera are only part of the equation—Mother Nature has to meet you in the middle. So, what do you do if Mother Nature just isn’t cooperating? It might be easy to take what you get one day and pack it in, but landscape photographer Joshua Cripps explains why you should never give up:
This episode is just one in a series of seven where Cripps tells us about life lessons he’s learned about being a photographer. And, it’s a good one. Landscape photographers spend crazy amounts of time searching for the perfect location, the perfect scene. You hike for hours, battle the elements, hope for the best, then arrive to find out that something just isn’t working. It could be the sun falls on the wrong side of the scene, or maybe the cloud coverage is too much, or the water’s too calm or too rough; something just doesn’t jive with your vision.
Now you have to make a choice: shoot anyway and take what you get, or shoot anyway, but come back another day to try again.
The Power of Perseverance
You can’t control the weather. Or the tides. Or where the light falls at certain times of the day. You just have to keep trying.
Cripps tells a great story about perseverance that paid off. He spent quite a bit of time scouting the Santa Cruz coast for new seascapes to shoot. One day, he found a really cool shelf that had a few combining elements that had the potential for a great shot—vivid green algae, rocky pinnacle, crashing waves.
And, the coolest part was that the waves would come up around the pinnacle and form a 15-foot waterfall that fell back into the ocean. He needed everything to be just right. The light had to shine the right way, the swell had to be just the right height, everything had to work together.
So, Cripps started making trips back to the location. Even though he estimated when the tide would be right, the next few times he went out there, the light didn’t cooperate. Some photographers would have thrown in the towel at this point; maybe snap some shots with the less than ideal lighting and accepted it. But, Cripps kept going.
Watch the video and see how after weeks of trying, he finally got what he was looking for. The clouds lit up with color, the waves came through and created a beautiful cascade of water, and his efforts paid off.
“The moral of the story here is pretty clear—when you want something, go for it, over and over and over again.”