I really enjoy photography, but I’m glad I don’t have to make my living doing it. For me, photography is something I get to do for fun – grabbing opportunities when they arise, instead of having to record a particular event at a particular time. I have incredible respect for journalistic photographers who show up and make beautiful or powerful images out of very challenging photographic situations. I’ve done that kind of photography a few times, and found it much more stressful than enjoyable. It’s much more fun to pull my camera out of the bag only when the light is good and I have some time to wander.
Yesterday morning, I arrived at our Platte River Prairies field headquarters a little early for a meeting. As I was driving in, I was enjoying the beautiful light being produced as the sun neared the edge of a receding cloud bank. Since I had a little time, I turned onto a short trail road, parked, and hiked into one of our restored wetlands to see if I could find anything to photograph.
As I walked up to the edge of the water, I flushed a great blue heron and a dozen mallards, and listened to several flocks of cranes passing overhead. During the next 15 minutes or so I walked the edge of a wet swale with my camera – until the sun finally emerged completely from behind the clouds and the light became too intense for my liking. I packed up and headed for my meeting… and arrived right on time.
Deadline-free photography – it’s a wonderful thing.