The importance of persistence
One of my biggest weaknesses as a photographer is persistence and patience. As a music photographer, the moment only lasts a split second, and then it is gone forever but outside of work, that is seldom true. Sometimes waiting for the perfect conditions to get a shot and trying over and over again is extremely important and rewarding. Outside of work, I have often gone to shoot a sunset and given up after one or two shots, packed my bag up, and left, only to see the sky explode with color on my way home. Having the patience to wait for the shot is a skill that I need to work on and I am trying to overcome this. The second thing that I am learning is that it pays to be persistent and visit the same location many times. Getting a good shot at any location involves many different aspects and they may not all be perfect the first time you go to the location.
During last week, I was outside shooting with my Leica Q2 Monochrom, and while I was walking back to my e-bike to go home, I notice a shot that I thought might be good, but the sun had just gone down and I had missed the best light for that day. I still grabbed a snapshot and went home that evening.
When there is a lot of hazy and pollution in the air, the sun will set way above the horizon. So you need to be at the location you want to shoot early so you can capture the best possible light. So I made a mental note of the location and I came back two days later.
The second time at the same location, I thought that if I use a long exposure, then I could hopefully smooth out the water and get a little bit more color in the sky, but the image was still not to my liking. But I did stay for the whole sunset as I was shooting a timelapse with my GoPro. Shooting timelapse’s seems to be a good method to keep me at one location and not leave too early. I have been using this method for a while now and it works. Once the video has started recording, I am very reluctant to stop the GoPro to leave, as it feels like I am throwing my time away by not staying. But this timelapse wasn’t very successful the Gopro was bumped a couple of times by a woman who was taking some shots with her mobile phone.
My third visit to the same location the next day resulted in much better images and I was shooting completely alone for once, with no strangers hanging around so I actually really enjoyed just watching the sun go down. Are these the greatest shots I have ever taken, hell no. Are they better than my first two attempts at the same location, I would like to think so. By being persistent and patient, I am slowly starting to capture better images and it is teaching me to work just a single shot. I am used to working a scene, shooting from many different angles, finding that one unique image that other photographers won’t get at a music show, so this is new ground for me. In some way, being stuck in lockdowns and not being able to leave this one small city might actually help me to grow as a photographer. It is not very easy to find new perspectives to take photos from within a small city but I am trying very hard to work with what I got at the moment. Before Covid-19 started, I doubt I would have even looked at this location, but my third time to the same spot rewarded me with some images that I am happy with and some photographic knowledge that I can apply to the future.