The Value Of Time

Post-sunrise light at Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, Maine

“Three weeks ago, I found myself sitting on the banks of Hudson Bay, a stone’s throw from the Arctic circle, waiting for a polar bear to wake from his slumber. One can wait a long time for a polar bear to awaken. Several times, our group of photographers asked whether we should move on, and several times the answer was, “You don’t leave a bear to go look for a bear.””

Most followers of this blog are already familiar with David duChemin.  He gets a little preachy sometimes, but more often than not his words of wisdom are quite wise.  In his most recent blog post, For Stronger Photographs: More Time, he writes about the difficult but valuable need to be patient.  To take the time for something to happen.  To make the time to be in the right place for something to happen.  Its a lesson for all of us, photographers and non-photographers alike.

I’ve said numerous times that the most valuable thing I have learned from photography is that it is nearly impossible to be in the perfect spot at the perfect time.  For that to happen even once is unimaginable, but to expect it over and over again is foolish and unproductive.  There is always a better sunset, a better wave, a better expression, somewhere.  But we don’t know where or when, so the best we can do is be where we feel we need to be, or make the best of wherever we are.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not generally a patient person.  But in waiting for a cloud to cover the sun, or for a wave to crash on a rock, or for shadow to spread evenly over a waterfall, there are times when patience is rewarded.  Slow down, look around, and don’t leave a bear to go look for a bear.

4 thoughts on “The Value Of Time”

  1. I get a little preachy “sometimes”? I’m losing my edge, I thought I was a little preachy most of the time. LOL. Thanks for the kind words, Tom. Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Thank you, David. You know that I only meant that in the best way. 😉 Your words have provided inspiration for many and for that I am thankful. Cheers across the border!

  2. Yes, on David’s blog post. I, like you, have trouble with patience, mine and others. As a photographer I find it to be a bit easier to sit and wait for a sunrise or sunset or bear than to wait in a line at the store. I agree there is not perfect spot at the perfect time, at least one I can attempt to arrange. But when I place myself in the moment, wherever that may be, and with a camera then I am prepared to accept any image given me.

    1. Well said, Monte. The grocery store is an excellent example. Just yesterday we used the order online+curbside pickup option so we didn’t have to battle the crowds inside. And tomorrow is the day we stay home, and if we go past the Walmart it will be on foot, not in the car!

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