Let’s talk about some key requirements to get good photos. Without sounding trite, first off you need a camera. Attached to it, it’s essential you have a lens. To record the image, you need a memory card. Obviously, you didn’t need to read the above to know it’s ridiculous. But I want to make a point that, along with the obvious items I just listed, included is one that’s just as obvious, yet so often overlooked. It’s the concept of having patience. Photographer “A” can have $50,000 worth of equipment, but unless he or she is willing to wait for a perfect expression, for the perfect light, for the perfect head angle, etc., photographer “B” with the $500 point-and-shoot who commits the time will shoot rings around the big spender.
Patience is a virtue. Whether I photograph a grand landscape, an animal in the wild, a portrait or someone’s favorite pet, I wait for the moment when all falls into place. On occasion it’s quick, but more often than not, patience plays a huge role. The norm is the situation needs to be worked. When I teach a class, I constantly stress how important it is to wait for the light to be just right, wait for a bedded-down moose to get up and display some behavior, wait for a subject to get in front of a good background, or wait for any of the other specifics that determine the outcome of the photograph. I tell my participants that at times I get very impatient, and if the action doesn’t happen within “six hours,” I’m outta there! The point here is that waiting for all the pieces to fall into place is as essential as having a lens attached to the camera.
The more times your patience rewards you, the more frequently you’ll wait for “the” moment. Will it always pan out? Absolutely not, but the guarantee is, if you don’t wait, you’ll miss it if it does. Do I sometimes question my decision to wait as I stand there hoping for events to unfold? Absolutely! Have I been out in the field and waited and waited and never taken a picture? Absolutely, but since I’ve often been rewarded in the past, it encourages me to persevere. Think back to when you were young. It seemed that it took forever for Christmas or your next birthday to arrive, but when it did, it was worth the wait. When a situation of special light opens up or something magical happens after you’ve waited for a long period, view it as a gift. It will keep you coming back for more.