One is the loveliest number
I enjoy walks on the beach with my guy. Gardening with my mom. Having a glass of wine with friends. Photography, however, well, that’s a lone pursuit. Freelance photographers and hobbyists out there probably share my plight. Because I’m primarily a nature photographer, I’ve tried to make social outings out of photography sessions. First of all, no man with whom I’ve ever held hands on the banks of a woodland pond has ever understood that, yes, you do need 15 shots of the same dragonfly. Nor do guys really like to stop a lot. They need that mental trophy for completing a trail ahead of the couple who started behind you, and no camera compensates for the shake of running. Or from inside a moving car if it’s just a bunch of dumb flowers you need to photograph. Ditto with kids. Teens and young adults aren’t quite so bad – the hundreds of selfies they take in any situation allow you plenty of time to get your own shots. They just don’t understand the need for the big camera when their iPhone just took a waaay better picture of that dolphin in the surf than you did, see? Friends and relatives try to be tolerant, but sometimes they just can’t help themselves: “Like no one’s ever taken a picture of the Gateway Arch.” “You could’ve had a new sofa for what that camera cost.” "That shot would look much better from this angle." I love my friends and family. But you cannot take them to work with you every day. Photography is a discipline, and it’s also an art, and the thing that keeps many talented writers, painters, photographers from fulfilling their potential is the simple realization that this kind of art is not a social activity. It is done alone. Even in my little world, I’ve seen talented writers and artists simply unable or unwilling to be alone, thus unable to write, paint, draw. Freelance and hobby photographers should always give themselves sessions alone. As a nature photographer, I value the opportunity to wander without worrying about another’s boredom, impatience, or opinion while I work. That’s when the magic happens. It’s okay to take your photography seriously. And then when you take the kids to Six Flags, just bring the iPhone. I call this photo Alone Time. Don’t be afraid to try it.