(© Ian Plant) Field work is hard work, and can be equal parts toilsome, exhausting, and lonely. It can be difficult to keep up the intensity required to make compelling photographs. During a recent trip to Iceland, a combination of events severely depleted my creative reserves. I had to keep reminding myself of a few important things in order to stay focused:
I’m not here to be cozy, or to indulge in the comfort of a warm bed. I’m not here to catch up on sleep lost during a red-eye flight. I’m here to chase the light, even during the long hours of the night.
I’m not here to feel good. I’m not here to stay healthy. When I get sick, I still need to work hard, hiking several miles over a glacier if need be. I’m not here to stay behind and rest and recover. I’m here to get off the beaten path and see what others do not.
I’m not here to watch the Superbowl. I’m not here to read a book. I’m not here to catch up on the latest episode of The Walking Dead (but I will anyways; everyone needs a guilty pleasure). I’m here to be out there, catching the fleeting moments of the day.
I’m not here to enjoy fine dining. I’m not here to eat tartar of Kobe beef with Imperial Beluga caviar and Belons oyster paired with a 1995 Krug Clos du Mesnil. I’m here to spend as much time as I can exploring nature’s mysteries, and if that means eating gas station hot dogs, so be it. At least I can get the fancy ones wrapped in bacon.
I’m not here to sit in the car because I’m sick and tired and don’t feel like getting out to explore. I’m not here to wear comfortable shoes. So I’ll put on my boots and wander, because I’m here to find the places that inspire.
I’m not here to keep my feet dry. I’m not here to stand well above the incoming tide. I’m here to immerse myself within the rhythm of the waves, even if that means wet, smelly socks for two weeks.
I’m not here to be comfortable. I’m not here to shut myself in a nice hotel, hiding from the cold, rain, snow, and a week of non-stop gale force winds. I’m here to shout at the storm, and capture the tempest at its peak.
I’m not here to play it safe. I’m not here to take the easy way out. I’m not here to walk the well-travelled path. I’m here to find the hidden way, and to create something from nothing if necessary.
I’m not here to screw around. I’m not here to feel sorry for myself when things don’t go my way. Pain, exhaustion, sickness, bad weather, discomfort, loneliness—none of these matter. I’m here for one reason and one reason alone: to make the best photos I can possibly make.
Now get to work!
P.S. Check out our Iceland Winter Photo Tour led by Richard Bernabe!