Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mt. Rainier Waterfall - Living with Disappointment

A month or so ago my sister-in-law sent me some beautiful photographs she had taken on a trip to Mt. Rainier National Park.  The sky was a lovely shade of blue, the wildflowers were gorgeous, the shades of green in the forests were vivid.  So when Jeff & I were in Washington a few weeks ago and had one day for sightseeing, we headed there, hoping I could also find some beautiful scenes to photograph.

But by the time we arrived at the park entrance, the sky became overcast, and within a few minutes of driving, the weather turned drizzly, windy, foggy and cold.  So much for my anticipated beautiful photo ops!  Below is a photo taken out the car window showing how most of our drive looked:

Lessons Learned in Disappointment, Acceptance and Making Do!

I've learned that in order to be a 'serious' hobbyist photographer, one must accept and deal with a certain amount of disappointment, acceptance and making do.  Professional photographers working on assignment for a client, may have the financial means and time to be able to wait for ideal conditions, but most hobbyists have only limited amounts of time and money, and are usually reduced to a weekend here or there, or a set number of vacation days a year to feed their landscape and travel photography passion.  And often the weather or other factors pop up to thwart photography efforts during the time of the trip, that has probably been planned for months in advance.  Maybe it's not even the weather.  I just thought of the Chevy Chase movie, National Lampoon's 'Vacation' where the Griswold family struggles through all sorts of hilarious (and sometimes irreverent) situations to drive across the country to Walley World, only to find out it's closed!  Another lesson, make sure to do your homework in advance.  (And a little closer to home, this Friday starts our annual family vacation on our houseboat timeshare at Lake Powell.  I always look forward to photographing that beautiful area.  Who would have thought the government would shut down and all the national parks would close!  Major disappointment!  Sigh!)  But back to our day at Mt. Rainier:

 Unknown Waterfall in Mt. Rainier National Park

This is a 'making do' photo.  For a brief period, the fog lifted long enough for me to get out of the car along side the road to take the above shot.  It was cold and windy and I had to put my telephoto lens on a tripod and hold it from being blown over.  The original photo was dull and soft because of the moving trees and moving camera.  In post editing, I decided to boost the saturation, sharpen and add a bit more 'magic'.  This shot doesn't look anything like the original, but in my mind, it looks like the photo I could have taken if I'd have had the time to come back on a day when the weather conditions were perfect.  

And who knows, I may be able to salvage one of my foggy, rainy shots and create something dark and moody, just right for Halloween.

When considering outdoor, travel, and landscape photography, if we learn to accept and make do with disappointments and changes we didn't anticipate, and force ourselves to rethink the possibilities, we may actually be increasing our photography skills and our ability to be more creative!