Open-Minded Illumination

Words of wisdom come from places you least expect to hear them. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be enlightened by a total stranger seated next to me at the airport. His words were something to the effect of, “My initial flight was canceled, my aisle seat was changed to a middle one, the weather delay is messing with my mind and the kid behind me on my first flight kept kicking my seat, but a bad two days of air travel is still better than two days at work when your destination is where you’ve dreamed about going all your life.”

As I reflected upon his words while watching a family of eight kids run havoc around the gate area, the guy’s perceptive quips left a deep impression. I’ve accumulated my fair share of air miles and endured similar circumstances to those shared by my seatmate but never viewed how wonderful it is to zero in on only the positive aspects of the location to where I was headed. This got me thinking—I immediately called to mind all my “bad” photographic days and realized how great it was to still have been outdoors making pictures.

Open-Minded Illumination

It’s always a pleasure to go away. The definition isn’t limited to a time span. One can go away from their home for just half a day on a short photo excursion. Regardless of the timeline, to have the opportunity to be outdoors on a photo adventure—be it a day trip, weekend or entire vacation—is an adrenaline-pumping experience.

The days of beautiful light, cooperative wildlife and phenomenal conditions always produce euphoria—this goes without saying. But what about the days where the light cooperates but no wildlife shows up? What about the days where the wildlife is out but where they choose to be leaves you unmotivated to press the shutter? What about the days when both the light and wildlife don’t cooperate? What the heck—make lemonade! Feel the wind on your face, shake the morning dew off your boots, inhale the scent of sea air, layer up with a windbreaker and wear a smile on your face. You’re still out in nature, you’re in your environment, and it’s good to be alive.

Open-Minded Illumination

As with each of you who got this far into this week’s Tip of the Week, my goal is to return from each outing with as many great images as possible. But, if the conditions prevent this outcome, I enjoy the positive aspect of how my photography lead me on the outing in the first place.

So, the next time a day trip, weekend or even an entire week is a photographic bust, appreciate the fact that your love of photography got you outdoors doing something you enjoy so much. More importantly, stay positive regarding your photography.

Open-Minded Illumination

Keep your “photo eyes” open and learn to open them a bit wider when the conditions aren’t desirable. Don’t get discouraged as your photos will reflect your attitude. Dig a bit deeper into your creativity to come away with a winner. Try a new technique that’s been on the back burner. Zoom the lens, try some pan blurs, break out the flash, slow down the shutter, raise the ISO or combine any of the above. You may have to work a bit harder, but then again, whoever said making a great photo is easy?

Visit for information about his nature photography tours and safari to Tanzania.

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