Work For It

I recently returned from a trip up to Yellowstone. Man–I’ve gotta say I absolutely fell in love with that place this trip. I’ve been up there several times before, and even photographed there before, but this trip was something else. Having only three days in the area, I committed to getting up each morning for sunrise. Little did I know the sun was rising around 5:45 am. Geez–that’s early. I’m used to early, but not THAT early.
I will simply say that I was justly rewarded for dragging my tired butt out of bed. Yellowstone at sunrise is truly like being on another planet. I visited many of the places I photographed at other times of the day as well, and it was a different experience altogether.
In a nutshell, it pays to work for it. If you work hard for an image, and are prepared to capture an “all time” image, then chances are you will be rewarded. Not only did I rise each morning at 4:00 am, but I had done research previous to arriving that helped me to understand what locations would be best to shoot at particular times of the day. I had maps, sunrise/sunset times, a list of preferred locations to shoot, and most importantly–I had an insatiable hunger to capture some five-star images. Believe me, that last factor was the most important–cause by the end of the third day my body and mind were tired, and I wasn’t particularly motivated to get out of bed.
There’s so much more to photography than simply clicking a shutter. And if you do all that “other stuff”, you’re bound to hit the jackpot sooner or later. My advice would not only be to prepare and to work hard to capture that life-altering image, but to be flexible. Have a choice of locations to shoot. Give yourself ample time to arrive at “the shot”–chances are, you’ll find something equally inspiring along the way. Do your best to avoid tunnel vision–you may have a particular image in mind, but don’t stifle your creative energy by focusing solely on that image. Open your eyes–don’t just look around, but see all the possibilities. Experiment with different lenses, different compositionsm, different vantage points, etc.
In short, do your part as a photographer, and Nature will do hers. Happy shooting!

Norris Geyser Basin at Sunrise Middle Geyser Basin Trees w Fog Norris Geyser Basin at Sunrise Gibbon River Gnarled Bush, Gibbon River Valley