Having fun is what I’m doing right now. I’m sitting poolside on a long-overdue vacation. The palm trees are blowing in the breeze of a somewhat cloudy afternoon. A pina colada is in my near future. The smell of the Caribbean permeates the offshore winds. I’m working as I write this article! While it’s obvious that I’d like to “work” under these conditions every day, the reality is clear. The point I want to share is regardless of what you do photographically, where you’re doing it and why or how it happens, if you let the task always be a job, find a way to have some fun.
If you find a photographic task becomes a burden, do something out of your normal realm. Create a shot you know will be pitiful and look at the LCD. Find a way to make it worse. Change the white balance to something bizarre, open the shutter to two seconds or more and move the camera. Do something that allows a smile to appear on your face when you view the result. Make the shot that lets you relax as you let down your guard and relieve the pressure. Make a photo that’s so bad, the next one you make has to be better, and relish in the fact that you just improved your image making! At that point, get serious once again—chances are you’ll be in a better frame of mind. Have that fun to keep you relaxed. Don’t restrict utilizing the above tactic solely for times you struggle. Also use it even when things go well.
The first two shots that accompany this Tip were made in Yellowstone in late spring. I was stuck in a construction delay and my shutter finger was itchy. I picked up the camera to document the vehicles in front. The fun came when I realized just how many cars were behind me when I checked the rearview mirror. I had to laugh when I noticed just how long the line extended. The “group” shot was made when I was with four other photographers in White Sands National Monument. It was sunrise, and the shadows were long. I called the others over for just a few seconds, as I didn’t want them to miss the great light. We certainly had a bit of fun posing for the photo. Moral of the tip—regardless of the hand you’re dealt or what you’re doing, don’t forget to have some fun.