Photographing Nubble Light

Maine 2015-76Nubble Light (AKA Cape Neddick Light) is located on a small island just off York, Maine. It was second on our list of lighthouses to shoot at sunset. When we arrived it was windy and very chilly and, of course, there were a half-dozen photographers there ahead of us. There was plenty of space on the nearby rock to set up, so we tried a few spots before settling in and waiting for the sun to set. (One dedicated shooter was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. I’m not sure how he kept from freezing.)

Once again, the other photographers packed and left shortly after sunset, and we had the place to ourselves.

Has no one heard of the blue hour?

I Dream of Beans

Utah 2014-87I had been shooting in Utah for several days. I was in Blanding, my base for shooting Hovenweep, House on Fire, and Natural Bridge. The weather turned dreary and drizzly for my mid-trip flex day. There being absolutely nothing to do in Blanding, other than sleeping and eating (and the latter options were really limited), so I decided to take a day trip to Durango, Colorado.

Driving through the rolling farmland of eastern Utah and into western Colorado I went through Cahone, did a double-take, turned around, parked and shot.

I assume that this was someone’s failed dream, now available for just $55,000. It was tempting, but I pressed on.

“You Must Have a Fantastic Camera”

There’s an apocryphal anecdote that circulates among photographers about a “socialite” complimenting a photographer’s work, saying “you must have a fantastic camera.” Later, the photographer returns the favor, complimenting the dinner she served by saying, “you must have a fantastic stove.”  (Recently I heard it attributed to Ansel Adams. I’m not sure he would have been so rude.) The obvious message is that when someone says this about our photography we should feel insulted and be condescending.

Please watch your step as you dismount your high horse.

Photographers should know that most people do not look at photographs with the same critical eye as those who produced the image. (Some may count on that fact, judging from some of what passes as wedding photography.) When people make this statement they are expressing their appreciation of the image, even though they may not be able to articulate what it is that makes it special to them. They’re ordinary people, not art critics. Chill.

If we silently roll our eyes when we hear this we are missing an opportunity to accept a compliment and maybe impart a bit of knowledge. By graciously saying, “Thank you. Let me tell you what I particularly like about this image” we may begin a dialogue in which we learn how non-photographers see our efforts and politely teach a lesson on composition and light.

Not to mention, we avoid looking like self-important jerks.