Lady Luck, Fortuna, Tyche or whatever name she wears for you, she tends not to hang around for long. So make the best of it while she is smiling on you. Don’t think about it too hard, don’t comment on it, don’t stop to thank her or she will be gone before the words leave your mouth. Show your appreciation by working swiftly but not rushing, getting the job done and the image in the bag, then just smile and hope she visits again.
Canon 1DS Mk3, 24-70mm f2.8 at 27mm at f8 at 1/320, ISO 100, Raw, 17:20 April 16th
If however she is not smiling on you today and the world is fighting you at every turn, stop. Take a moment and think about where you are and what you are doing. Remember how lucky you are to have the time to be here in this moment. After all is said and done, this is supposed to be a fun activity not a stressful one.
Take a breath and then proceed calmly without rushing as that is when things get broken and blood pressure rises. Be methodical, take your time and be patient. Whilst waiting for the light to come, the clouds to move, or the wind to blow, look around and think about your next shot.
Keep one eye on your main subject but consider other viewpoints. Let your subconscious mull over the possibilities and when it is ready, it will serve you up the next “good idea” for you to try. But keep watching your subject; you may only get one chance at it. If it happens it is likely to be fleeting, so be patient and make it count.
There are days when everything seems to be being as difficult as possible. I was working on a set of views near Deal in Kent, the first of which was taken not long after 07:00 and the second wasn’t until 10:30. I got the first one in the bag, no worries, but could not get a taxi to pick me up and take me to the second location. It was about six miles away so I started walking, tripod over shoulder, rucksack on back, heading down country lanes and bridleways.
On the way the weather took a turn for the worse and clouded over, threatening rain. The wind picked up and had some bite to it and of course was blowing in my face. If it was easy then everyone would do it, I thought. I got to the last stretch of the bridleway and it was firmer underfoot than before.
As I walked along it, my foot caught this lump in the path and I nearly took a spill. Under the moss that I kicked loose was an ancient cat’s eye marking the centre of an old disused road. It turns out that the old road had been replaced by a dual carriageway on the far side of the hill and was just allowed to go wild. This section was about two miles long and was vaguely up hill to my second location, but had some hidden dips as it passed over the rolling hills. Looking up this mossy path I could see these regular lumps of moss-covered cat’s eyes, and it just made me chuckle.
After finishing the walk I set up the tripod and took a set of pictures, even though it was far too early, and then sat down to wait for the right time. I took those pictures because the weather might deteriorate and looking at the last few hours I didn’t fancy risking it. So I sat there on the side of a hill, overlooking a seventeenth century farm with half-timbered buildings, waiting for the sun to move. The wind slackened, the clouds parted and it was getting too hot so I took my coat off. The clouds broke up giving some texture to the sky, the skylarks were singing and I realised I was getting paid to do this!
There are good days and bad. In some you laugh at long lost cat’s eyes and in others you manage to dodge the lightning but not the rain. Either way you get a good story afterwards, so it can’t all be bad.
Canon 1DS Mk3, 50mm f1.4 at f8 at 1/200, ISO 100, Raw, 10:26-10:32 June 14th
All Images Copyright © 2015 Cath and Ian Humes. All rights reserved.