Remember that song “I’ve Got To Use My Imagination” by Gladys Knight + The Pips? There’s a line in the song: “Gotta make the best of a bad situation.”
It’s amazing how many good photos are the result of making the best of a bad situation.
In my picture editing days at the Rocky Mountain News, I had the great pleasure of working with a staff of sensational photographers who went out every day and made the best of bad situations - bad situations that I was often responsible for putting them in. Many of those situations started with the phrase, “Yes, I know nothing is going on where I’m sending you, but this photo will be going on tomorrow’s section front so we really need something great.”
For those of you who are unfamiliar with newspaper photography, you’d be shocked at how many great pictures in each day’s paper start with a photographer being sent out to “make the best of a bad situation.”
For me, the “bad situation” that led to this photo came from me misreading my daughter’s text message about when to pick her up from the high school soccer game she was at.
Having shown up about an hour early, my choices were either to sit in my car and play Hearts, Spades, Backgammon and Sudoku on my phone for an hour or wander around City Park making sunset photos. I never get tired of Colorado sunsets, so I chose to get out and wander.
I had high hopes because I’d been watching the late day sky for about an hour and expected some great picture opportunities to present themselves. They didn’t.
Walking back to my car … head down and shoulders slumped, with little to show for my hourlong walkabout … I strolled past this scene!
My dad was fond of saying two things:
Things are rarely ever as good as they seem. But, they’re also rarely as bad as they seem. - and -
Half the battle is just showing up (or, in this case, just getting out of the car).
Last night reminded me of how true both of those pearls of wisdom can be.