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Waiting For Perfect Conditions Vs. Taking Photos

Red-headed krait (Bungarus flaviceps) eating a frog in Bukit Lawang, Indonesia.

Red-headed krait (Bungarus flaviceps) eating a frog in Bukit Lawang, Indonesia.

Many people I talk to worry about the perfect time of day, weather conditions, the position of the sun, whether there is or is not precipitation, and so many other factors out of their control in order to get the perfect photo. So do I, admittedly. I only like going out in the morning or evening, and I prefer shooting wildlife at golden hour to any other time of day. I also love shooting in the snow, especially during a snowstorm.

Often, I let these factors get in the way of a shoot, and I know I’m not the only one. What I mean by that is if I wake up in the morning and I would prefer to get another hour of sleep that day rather than pull on all my winter gear to go shoot in the cold, I have all these different ways to talk myself out of it. Maybe I’ve checked Clear Outside and decided that there are too many low clouds and not enough high clouds to have good light. Or the wind is too high so the deer are less likely to be in the spot where I want to photograph them. Or even that it isn’t snowing, and I really want a picture of a cardinal with snow falling, so I might as well stay in bed.

These are all things we tell ourselves to make our life easier. Not better, just easier. It’s easier to stay in bed rather than go out and shoot. And it’s not just the weather we use as an excuse. Sometimes we tell ourselves we are gaining knowledge and improving by watching tutorials on wildlife photography or reading books on the subject. These can be great tools to improve, but nothing will hone your craft like getting out and shooting.

The excuses from your mind and body won’t stop, so you must put systems into place to beat them. Put your alarm clock (for most of us that’s our cell phone) in the kitchen and put the alarm on full blast so you have to run and get it before it wakes everyone up. Once you are out of bed and your heart is pounding you are far more likely to want to stay up. You could also put all the clothes and gear you will need into a neat pile the night before so you don’t have the excuse of not feeling like getting everything together (with the added benefit that you won’t forget anything).

I personally put my clothes and gear in a neat pile, put my alarm clock somewhere that I have to get out of bed to turn it off, tell someone I am going to the park tomorrow so as to create accountability (this one is probably the most important and highly underrated - humans care too much about what others think of them), and tell myself that I have taken awesome photos in every weather condition and I will never become a great photographer if I don’t go out and take photos.

Don’t let “getting ready” get in the way of creating great photos. You are ready. You have a camera and an able body. Get out and start shooting!

What kinds of things do you do to rid yourself of that procrastination demon inside? I’d love to hear from you.