Its 5 am and I am looking out the window trying to decide whether to go out or not. Just what I am going to see in the pitch-black is uncertain. There are no clouds, and the stars shine brightly down. Go back to bed or go out.
No argument really, I have to go out, but what to? What will I find when I get to where I am going? There is a huge cloud bank that I can see which does not bode well for the sunrise.
The mist. This changes everything. It’s dark and I am walking with a head torch and as I turn my head the mist lights up. A beam of light in the gloom. The top of the cloud bank is lighting up but still not enough to see properly by. A little red glow at the top of the cloud.
So, I spend a happy couple of hours walking and making images using the trees, the river and pretty much anything else I can find to make images and I am pleased with some of the results. Truth is I had no idea of what I was going to find when I got out. Could have been rubbish and wished I had got the extra sleep.
5 miles and 2 ½ hours later back home enjoying a cup of coffee.
One thing that makes it all uncertain is that I do not look at the images on the back of the camera at the time. This is a hang-up from film days when I did not know what I had got until the film was developed. I think it makes me work just that bit harder at the time of taking the image.
This year I have taken over 4000 shots out of these there have only been 140 or so that I am happy to share. This is based on only showing my best work. Behind these 140 there are several hundred that fall into the “Meh” category. I am uncertain as to what to do with them. This is not a problem though. I have some sort of hit rate and as the year has gone on and I have concentrated more on my photography and less on messing about it has improved.
What this proves is that I fail more often than I succeed, a lot more often. The problem occurs when I compare myself with other people. I look at Adam Gibbs.
Adams Gibbs website is here
Ben Horne is here
Now when you compare yourself to these people you have to ask why you are not better and you start to have.
Why am I not producing the work I want to? What is it about my work that could be improved? This question has to be asked sensibly. In a way that does not destroy moral but serves as a directional pointer to get better. It is too easy to consume all the tips and advice on YouTube and take a good shot but not know why it is good. You are working to a formula. One question I get asked is what are the settings you need for X?
My response to this is “what do you want to achieve with the shot?” what story do you want to tell because this will give you the settings. It will also tell you where to stand and the direction to point your camera.
Doubt is very much aligned with failure, but the latter is an intrinsic part of photography. In fact, they walk hand in hand you fail so you have doubts. But you have to fail to get better and you will get better if you fail constructively this will have the knock-on effect of removing doubt because you expect to fail so it becomes a part of the process and you stop doubting your ability.
I took 80 images this morning I suspect that I may have 2 or 3 good ones and the rest Just rubbish on my hard drive that I keep looking at and try figure out how, if I were in the same position again, would I do things differently.
Uncertainty: – Go anyway what’s the worst that can happen. Be uncertain of what you will find and the results you get.
Failure: – Some shots just aren’t going to work! Learn from them
Doubt: – On the side of Suffolk University there was a sign it said
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever can”
Get your camera, go out and take some images, image-wise, what happens, happens.
Many thanks for reading