On two separate occasions while I was photographing at Steptoe Butte during my trip, I met the same photographer (let’s call him Nelson). Once I met Nelson during the evening and the next time was right after sunrise today. Each time, I was photographing the beautiful undulating hills of the Palouse and loving every minute of it. Each time, Nelson and I were close enough to chat briefly while standing behind our cameras. Each time, Nelson was persistently negative. Every question I asked and every comment I made was met with a negative response or an egotistical comment. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can be negative and egotistical in certain situations. But, when I’m out with my camera photographing something that I choose to photograph, trying to create a personally expressive artistic statement based on the subject before me, I don’t understand the point of being negative.
During our first encounter, I tried to cheer up Nelson. Maybe he was having a bad day and maybe I could help bring him into the moment. I failed, eventually moving my tripod to a location where I could explore different light, but also glad to get away from Nelson.
This morning on my last sunrise in the Palouse, Nelson pulled up about 20 minutes after the sun was up and immediately started to complain that he had slept in, that the sky had lost all its color, and that the light was too harsh. Then he proceeded to complain about the sunlight in his face and how that was messing up his ability to use his camera. Really? Complain about the sunlight being in your face during a sunrise??
My buddy and I just stared at each other, then opted to move to a different location farther up the hill. No sooner did we reach the next location and Nelson pulled up, continuing his tirade. “It’s over!” he exclaimed as exited his car. I continued to seek and find pleasing compositions nestled in the light and shadows. Fortunately, Nelson left in a few minutes. I remained behind with my buddy, bewildered by Nelson’s pain. I feel bad for negative Nelson. It was a beautiful morning and he didn’t allow himself to enjoy it!
My lesson? There are two options available to photographers: embrace what nature gives you or stay home. I prefer the former!
Here is an image from this morning. This was the scene about the time when Nelson arrived. Tell me, how can anyone think this is bad light?? As with my previous couple of posts, I used my iPhone to capture and process this image with the Lightroom mobile app. Love it. I hope you do, too! I wish Nelson could see it!