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I’m in the woods photographing a Girls Camp this week. Lugging pounds and pounds of gear while chasing after an ever-moving crowd of teenagers through the trees, trying to be invisible and in the middle of it at the same time. I came home today to back up my images, and am headed back up at the crack o’ dawn for a 16-hour day of photos.
I’m popping Ibuprofen like candy at this point.
I admit it’s not the best situation for image-making. First, these are all young women who have been in the woods for days – they see a camera at this point and they run. Second, there is either tree-dappled direct sun or fluorescent overheads lighting everything I’m doing. Third, I’m tired. Battling through week three of a nasty cold. Stressing about unfinished editing for clients back home.
Yesterday, my mental dialogue streamed nonstop: “I wish the sun were lower. I wish I had a telephoto zoom lens with me. I wish I had worn bug spray. I wish I hadn’t already eaten all the M&Ms in my trail mix.”
Then some words floated through my head, sent to me from a daily inspiration email:
Do you think the most stunning, celebrated, and adept dancer in the entire world could become so by only ever dancing to the most brilliant, illuminating, and clever music in the world?
Or would they freak, hip-hop, and tango to every riff, beat, and la-bamba within earshot?
I re-shouldered my Shootsac.
I’ve been amazed by street dancers performing on moving subways. On crowded city corners. With nothing but a beat-up, outdated boom box. And I think I need to take a lesson from them.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve got to work with. Gear. Location. People. Fatigue. Head cold.
How many great images would be left unmade if we only waited to shoot at golden hour, with the perfect lens, with a smartly-styled subject, in a magical location?
More importantly: How much GREATNESS would be left unachieved if we waited for all the stars to align first?
The real question is: Do you dare knock their socks off right now, at this moment, with what you’ve got?
Back to the woods.