Although many photographers are fortunate enough to take special photo tours and workshops where image-making is the chief activity, most of the time our photo work happens in spare time and odd moments between other activities. For these occasions, it’s a cardinal principle that when you come upon a good photo opportunity, do not pass it by.
This is, of course, a case of do as I say, not as I do. I find it easy to bypass what might be good photo opportunities. Consider some of my reasons:
- I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to stop
- There’s no good place to park; I’d have to walk a longer distance than convenient
- I’ll find a better photo spot later
- I don’t want to attract attention
- The scene is probably not as good as it appears
- I’ll have to work too hard to make the best use of the opportunity
- I’ll come back later when I’ve got more time or I’m not as tired
I’ve used all these excuses and I do so daily. Mea culpa.
The truth is, though, there is no “later.” The lighting, which is probably what caught my eye in the first place, is sure to change. Seasonal conditions will evolve. Other elements that make up the scene may well be different later.
Of course, what looks like a good photo opportunity may turn out to be disappointing. On the other hand, it may prove to yield spectacular even if unanticipated images.
So, here’s my point: if you’re serious about discovering photos, allow time for serendipity. And then, when you see what seems like a good situation, make the effort to take advantage of it. The chances are your opportunity to make an image that good in that place will never happen again.
As it is in photography, so also in life. When an opportunity arises, seize it. It may never again return.