We’ve all heard the advice: prepare for the unexpected, be flexible, adapt, etc. My daughters have certainly heard it. And in all aspects of life, it’s good advice. For photographers, for this one, it usually means to deal with disappointment, when you can’t get to the target spot, when the light fails or fades unimpressively, when clouds obscure or flatten the sky. When I went to the Ocmulgee River and then the Indian Mounds yesterday, I already knew that light conditions were not going to be great [using TPE], and that the locations and structures with angular dynamics I like were few and far between [Shot HotSpot]. Also, I lived in Macon for seven years and already knew the locale. Don’t get me wrong; there are lots of great photography subjects here, just not what I wanted to shoot yesterday. In the right light and time of day, possibly even tomorrow, the railroad trestle over the river might yet present an appealing prospect.But not yesterday. And at the Indian Mounds, similar disappointment presented. Light was relatively flat [the park is only open from 9am-5pm, so there is not much getting around that], water levels in the wetlands were low, almost eliminating the swamp “feel,” etc.
But I ran into an interesting fellow named David Byrd, an accomplished wildlife photographer, who knows the park well. We chatted for a while, him sharing what he has observed and me reminiscing about working in the Park over 40 years ago, and then went our separate ways. But he got me to open my eyes to other photo possibilities. I still went looking for light and lines, but then began looking at the wildlife more intently. I am not a wildlife photographer by any stretch of the imagination, and I was poorly equipped yesterday for wildlife photos [all manual technical camera, lenses, and digital back, light fixed tripod, etc.]. But when I took the time, I was able to watch a Great Blue Egret hunt, saw the turtles everywhere, a beaver, a white egret, and the alligator ruler of the pond that was once a full swamp.
That was the lesson yesterday: refuse to even be disappointed. Engage the moment, the place, the opportunity. Lemons, meet lemonade.