The times of greatest change hold the most potential.
It was 8 a.m. in the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge.
I’d been photographing snow geese since before dawn. Thousands stop here on their yearly migration and, until an hour ago, the morning sky had been crowded with them. Now however, the sky was empty.
“They’ll bed down right after dawn and won’t get up for anything after that,” the ranger had told me. “About the only thing that frightens them once they’re down is a low-flying plane, and we don’t get many of those around here.”
Well, they were sure “down” now. I could hear them squawking somewhere over the corn rows in front of me. After a good bit of hiking, I found them, thousands of them, in a tiny lake in the middle of the reserve.
I set up my long lens and waited. An hour. Not one flew. Another hour. Nothing. They certainly were “down.”
Shift your attitude
In the heat of the morning, my mind began to wander. Strangely, looking at that empty sky and the immovable snow geese, I found myself thinking about the nature of change. In so many areas of our lives, we simply don’t want it. None of us want to get older, face a new onslaught of IRS regulations, or have our favorite TV series dumped unceremoniously from the airways.
But in photography? There I worship change! Right now, if I thought it would help, I’d get down on my knees and beg for these snow geese to take flight. It’s not the status-quo that makes great photography, it’s change.
How many times have I begged for the weather to shift, for an eyebrow to raise, for the light to become a little more golden? More times than I can count. If I see the value of change so clearly in my photography, why does it frighten me so much in the rest of my life?
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