Why do I want to be a photographer? What is it about what I do that brings me so much joy? I don’t know that I have words to answer those questions, instead I have…well…photos. Even when my camera is not with me I find myself framing a composition, watching how changes in the location of the sun can change one setting several different times within the span of an hour. The color, the textures, the shadows, the spaces…it all draws me in and then when I’m behind the lens I find myself completely absorbed into the small square scene.
While it is my passion, I still find myself struggling to actually make time for it. I procrastinate. I spend time reading about it or listening to other photographers talk about their work, all the while avoiding doing any real work of my own. It is a battle that I fight every day and too often I lose but some days I am able to overcome my own obstacles and find sweet victory. Other days, even though I manage to prevail, I come away with no real spoils, just ruins. What I have learned, however, is that even on those days I’m winning. Those days are my teachers, my builders. Those days make me want to try harder. They remind me that no matter how much I might improve I always have opportunities for growth and improvement.
Determined to develop better habits I have begun to carve out time on my calendar each week, along with a general plan and location for what I want to shoot. Today was Greenwood Park, water lily’s and reflections. It was a bit of a rocky start with some bad lighting and spotty rain but when I got to my chosen locale, not even the school bus full of 6-year-olds managed to dampen my spirits. I was, after all, at the Des Moines Art Center, a popular field trip location. My ultimate goal was to take the advice from a podcast I had heard over the weekend and spend some time just getting to know the location. With increasingly worse lighting conditions and little humans in bright yellow t-shirts roaming in semi-organized groups, I could feel my resolve weakening. It was difficult to concentrate and the couple photos I had managed up to that point were hideous at best. I had not even come to see the rose garden but was finding it comforting and peaceful, so I put my camera back in my backpack and strolled around the circle sections until I began stopping every other step to admire another amazingly beautiful flower. Then I saw it. A gorgeous, bright red, half-open bloom with two tiny little water droplets hiding along the inside of a petal. I don’t have a macro lens but I pulled out my camera and started working. I spent the next hour just photographing roses! When I finally moved on to the park area that I had come there for, I wasn’t even upset that a small group of lounging adults were camping out on the very spot I needed to capture the photo I was after. (Okay, I was a little upset.)
I did not get the photo I had planned on. I did not have the light I had hoped for. I was not able to avoid being bitten several times by mosquitos the size of a small bird but I did get some very unexpected, and surprisingly good pictures that make me just a little bit proud.