I had wanted to shoot a particular taro patch in Keanea for a long time. Not a few days or weeks. We’re talking months, as in 38. Yep, for over three years, I’ve been driving past this particular taro patch, while on my way the Hana. Every time I pass by, I keep telling myself, “I’m gonna shoot that next time out.” The next time would come, and I’d drive right by.
So the other day, I set out to Hana with the full intention of making good on the three-year desire. However, there was one small problem. Rain. Not just little drop rain or steady rain. We’re talking build-an-ark style.
We have a saying here on Maui: If it’s raining, just drive for 10 minutes and it won’t be. In this case, I wasn’t going to drive an inch. I wanted to shoot HERE and NOW. So I figured I’d just wait it out. Twenty minutes later, Mother Nature adds wind to the equation.
No problem. I’ve waited out weather before. And besides, I come prepared: I open a bag of dried mango, crack open a bottle of water and crank on the iPod. Call it fate, coincidence or The Man upstairs messing with me, but the speakers were soon booming to Tom Petty crooning, “The waiting is the hardest part…”
How true those lyrics can be. But as a photographer, waiting is a good thing. It teaches us to be patient with nature and light. It’s also one of the hardest things to teach to someone. At a recent workshop, I had a student that was immersed in “the moment.” Waiting for the sunset, he was content to shoot in harsh light – harsh shadows and blown-out highlights be damned. Everyone else took my advice to wait for sweeter light, taking the time to steak out their little bit of real estate.
The sun dipped lower to the ocean, the light became softer and soon there was a symphony of beeping focus confirmations and the clicking of shutters. We had almost a half an hour of golden light to shoot by, the colors of the sky changing each moment. The sun dipped below the horizon, the lone dissident was ready to pack up and leave, but as the sun faded away, the rest of the group continued to click away as the light in the sky changed from orange to pink to red. With darkness falling, we hiked back to the parking lot, and we downloaded images onto laptops.
At dinner that night, we went through our best shots. Everyone had a host of “keepers,” with the best shots coming just as twilight began. The impatient fellow in the group was obviously disappointed in his results, but it gave me the opportunity to drive a point home: shooting just to shoot will only get you a picture, but having the patience to capture a great image will speak volumes of a story. Plus it can make the difference between a good shot or an incredible shot.
Patience grasshopper. Patience is a virtue.