Nothing against Jackson Browne...or The Eagles...but here's why....
I found myself yesterday with a little extra time on my hands down in Colorado Springs. It had been a long time since I’d paid a visit to Garden of the Gods, but wasn’t sure I wanted to go thru the hassle of getting my camera weather-ready. I hadn’t planned on doing any shooting, but what else was I going to do with three hours? My options were: ▪ playing backgammon or card games on my phone, ▪ listening to some podcasts, ▪ heading to a local bookstore, ▪ or braving the weather and doing some shooting.
If I'd only had 15-30 minutes, I probably would have gone with the game options. If I’d had more of my data allowance for the month left on my phone, I may have gone the podcast route. Bookstores are pretty much a no-brainer…I could do that all day, every day.
But…it was so beautiful. On my drive down from Denver, I'd been relentlessly tortured - driving by picture after picture to the east & west of I-25.
So…with great hesitation, I decided to drop in to a local Walmart, pick up a small roll of duct tape, some rubber bands and a cheap box of 13-gallon trash bags: my eventual gauntlet against the elements…at least for my camera gear.
I know there’s a lot of gear out there that’s designed to withstand the elements. I wasn’t working with that caliber of equipment. My Canon 7D, maybe would have been okay, but certainly not my Canon 18-200mm f/ 3.5-5.6 zoom…not a lens designed with unprotected heavy-weather shooting in mind.
It took me about 20 minutes to get my camera “sealed” against the weather. And, no, I didn’t take a photo of the set up…because I’m a knucklehead, and it just didn’t occur to me. Sorry. Next time, I promise.
As for weather protecting Mark, I did have boots, but no hat…or gloves (Mr. Prepared, that’s me!). I rummaged around in the “emergency bag” I’ve had in my car for about 8 years, and never used. “HEY, what’d ya know!! Hat…gloves…and all kinds of weather goodies!” Good to know there did exist a time when my brain did, apparently, function at a reasonable level. ;–)
Between shopping, weather-prepping, procrastinating, driving (i.e., sliding) up to Garden of the Gods, and allowing time to drive in the snowstorm back to the place I was meeting my friend, I only had about 30 minutes to shoot.
Not one to pass up an excuse to take the easy way out…I nearly bagged it and reverted to the games-on-my-phone option. Inexplicably, though, in a rare moment of inspiration, I ventured out into the snow.
For those of you who don’t know Garden of the Gods, it’s not a big place, but very striking visually, with red rock formations jutting dramatically skyward in stark contrast to the otherwise rolling landscape of the lower Rocky Mountain foothills. The snow just added another interesting visual wrinkle (nice, but certainly not required to enjoy this gorgeous, natural Colorado Springs enclave).
With my time constraints (and low threshold for discomfort), I didn’t wander far from the parking lot. Even so, the photo gods did see fit to reward me with a few decent photos for my efforts.
The moral of this story is “rewards go to the initiated…even the very, very slightly initiated (like me!).” The guardian angels of photographers are a benevolent bunch and are (usually) inclined to reward you for your extra efforts.
Hard as it can be sometimes, go the extra mile (or yard), do venture out for some picture-making when conditions or circumstances mean that doing so will require a bit of extra effort. Regardless of how great your pictures turn out, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you did something that most people will either talk themselves out of, or not even consider in the first place. That fact alone gives whatever photographs you do create inherent interest and value.
It’s also just part of the gig when you decide you want to take your photography more seriously. (Hey, no one said it was going to be easy to have this much fun!)