Never Give Up
Two years ago, almost to the day, I happened upon a photo location that presented me a type of scene I'd been wanting to capture for some time. It was completely by accident that I'd found it and I happened to arrive at a time that seemed serendipitous. I was giddy with excitement; a gorgeous sunset seemed imminent, I had a great foreground, waters were calm, and I had plenty of time to set up. In fact, I had enough time to go grab something to eat beforehand so that I could set up and then just wait.
I did just that. I went and grabbed an early dinner and then returned to my spot. The entire time I was eating, my mind was twirling with potential images I might capture. I went through the settings I'd want to start out with on my camera and I tried to visualise where I'd set up for my shots. I was even envisioning what my shots might look like and what I'd want to do in post-process.
Returning back to the scene I gathered up my equipment and walked over to where I wanted to set up. I soaked up the scene and the fresh salt-water air, sans low tide "funk". Slightly to my chagrin a couple of other photographers had shown up and were setting up as well. My spot wasn't my spot. I started to unpack my gear and set up when I discovered that I was missing the adapter for my tripod. What I had envisioned involved a long exposure and thus required a tripod. Perhaps it was the frustration, and anger with myself, that clouded my thoughts but despite thinking about it for a few minutes I couldn't figure out a hack to still get the shot. I had to have my tripod and with no way to mount my camera on my tripod... well... no shot. I cannot tell you how pissed and frustrated I was. It's quite possible, had I been alone on that beach, there would be an expensive piece of equipment sitting at the bottom of the bay -- I've inherited my grandfather's temper.
Dejected, angry with myself, and thoroughly disappointed, I re-packed my gear and started the three plus hour drive back home. I don't think I spoke for quite a while in the car, and by the time I'd squared things with myself the rest of the family had drifted off for most of the rest of the ride home. "I'll come back. I have to come back.", I thought to myself.
After a year I started to worry that that might be the scene that got away. It would be another year before I had a chance to return. The weather, however, was looking particularly awful. A stream of storms and clouds was sitting over the mid-atlantic and we weren't expecting to see the Sun for at least a couple of days, maybe longer. Still, I decided I was going to return to the scene, weather and $30 in bridge/road tolls notwithstanding. Only rains of biblical scale were going to prevent me from getting at least one shot. I wasn't going to make the sunset shot I wanted but that was okay; maybe I'd get something more interesting, more moody, or just different.
At this point I plan to go back again, and maybe return over the years as well. But I am happy to have my shots.
In the process of thinking about this blog post and actually writing it, I thought, "I have my shot. I persevered." Actually, that is true. I did get the shot. I didn't give up on it despite waiting two years almost to the day. But I did get more out of it than that -- and no it's not a lesson on try, try again. I asked a fellow soccer Dad, who also has an interest in photography, if he'd be interested in joining me and he accepted. While I didn't know what sort of shots I'd get I knew I was going to get something that would be worth my time going out there and also to edit. What I didn't expect, and made the trip way more worth it, was making a friend. A friend, by the way, who has a photo of one of my wife's shoes (it was in the car) as his contact photo for me on his phone. Don't ask, I dunno either. :-)
Keywords: Abandoned, Bay, Chesapeak, Decay, Forgotten, Landscape Photography, Long Exposure, Photography, Pier, Virginia, Water
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