Being patient is hard. It’s only human nature to look for the easiest and quickest way to achieve a goal. There’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes we have to learn to accept the fact that there are variables beyond our control. Let me explain.

In the photo/video world there are various things that are hard truths. If you increase your ISO your image will be brighter, larger aperture means more light, etc., but many things can’t be controlled. Gear failure, uncooperative weather, and just plain sheer exhaustion have ruined more than one shot in the history of visual media. Maybe you have a night sky shot planned out and it ends up being cloudy, ¬†or maybe you want a beautiful sunrise and Mother Nature throws you a curve ball and you get grey skies. How do you deal with this? Patience and perseverance.

Here’s an example.

I’ve been working on a side project for a while, a time lapse short about Colorado. In the final edit there’s a shot of a waterfall along the Western Slope called Dominguez Falls. Beautiful falls in a gorgeous sandstone canyon. While not terrible to get to, being just a short drive from Grand Junction and and a three mile hike, it feels remote. In the summer, it’s brutally hot. In the winter, very cold. The falls is fed through runoff and is most full in the Spring.

Hike to Dominguez Falls, Colorado waterfall

Last year, I made a trip out to shoot the falls in the spring and it was flowing! Hard. I hauled out my time lapse gear to shoot and after 12 hours down there and repeated gear failures, I threw in the towel. A month later I returned. Hauled all my gear out there and the falls were dry. Crap. One year later I returned. Really, I waited a year for this shot.

Not wanting to bring all my gear out for a dry falls and also in need of a 6-mile run I decided to run out in the morning to check the water level. From the trail I could hear it roaring! I’m stoked at this point. I bomb back to my car, grab my gear, and make the hike back. I planned for a shot around sunset when the falls would be in the shade and get nice even light. Turns out nature had my back and brought in some storm clouds. Awesome, great soft lighting!

What’s the point of this story?

I nailed three shots of the falls before the storm blew through. Be patient and put yourself in situations. You can’t always wait at home online watching the weather praying you’ll get exactly what you need. Yes, you may strike out. Or you’ll hit the home run and get more than you bargained for.

Photography seems to be that way. The ones who get out and make their own luck by enduring the bad weather and pain seem to bring home the best shots. Now, close your laptop, pack your camera bag, and go make something happen.

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