Here’s a simple shot of Point Iroquois, a northern Michigan lighthouse that sits on the south shore of Lake Superior. This shot was taken under the clear azure skies of deepest summer and a polarizer was used to enhance the colors.
It took me over an hour to take this photo. As I stood there, camera on tripod, many a tourist passed by and took a shot, and at least three tripod bearing photographers set up, shot, and left. My wife toured the museum and gift shop inside the building, went up to the tower and peered at the Great Lakes freighters through the telescope up there, and ultimately wandered down towards the beach as I stood in place. I must of seemed awfully slow, but in fact I was standing under the still clear azure sky of deepest summer, and that dang flag was hanging limp like a washrag draped on the top of mop handle. But the wind always comes on even the stillest days (and it always pauses, even on the windiest) – and so after an hour’s plus wait, a desultory breeze wafted across the lighthouse grounds, and I was able to snap a shot with flag looking as a flag should. It’s not like capturing the decisive moment or anything like that. Rather, in this case it’s about craft. Its about paying attention to a detail, and investing the time and effort to get that detail right. Technical details – shot with a Pentax *ist-D, SMC FA 20-30mm lens, polarizer and tripod.
Comment from: Member
I can definitely appreciate your efforts @ the lighthouse, as they remind me of my own on just about any given visit to the zoo. Most memorably, I remember it taking about 4 or 5 hours a day, 3 days in a row, in order to get a gorilla shot I was happy with. “Just standing there” can certainly seem compulsive from the outside looking in, but I like your phrasing better ("it’s about the craft"). Lord knows how many hours I’ve spent in front of any given exhibit; waiting for the lion to roll over, or growl, or yawn, etc (anything besides sit there). The funny part with animals is that a lot of times it simply won’t happen… which is why I guess you’ve gotta love your subject. Otherwise going home “empty handed” can certainly try your patience.
And speaking of patience. I think the true winner of this award goes to your wife for her understanding of your craft. I’m impressed that she toured the site alone while her insane husband stood in one place. Don’t take that for granted (!), as many (married) photographers would envy such an understanding companion just as much as they would your talent! (well, at least I do). Sorry for the long post, and as always thanks for the insight.