Though photography always takes up the a high place in the list of my priorities, sometimes laziness comes in the way. Getting out of the bed, early in the morning, to catch those wonderful fleeting moments, can sometimes be a task in itself.
(Morning Light on Himalayan Peaks – Nikon full frame body with 135mm lens, f/8, 1/125 second at 100 ISO, photographed at 6:35 AM in the morning)
The early morning light has a very different kind of character, a magic in itself. Morning time is usually very clear. Due to inactivity at night time, the atmospheric dust gets time to settle down. Dew and frost further bind the dust down and keep the air clear. This clear air has its own advantage. (Time of the day). Distant subjects can be photographed easily. Some of the early risers like various birds and animals are at their best with the day-break. The light has an altogether different character. Due to less amount of dust, scattering of light is limited, yet the angle of the light from the rising sun is quite acute. The hues are pastel most of the time with pinks, lilac and pale yellow coloring up the landscape. The acute angle of the sunlight further brings out the textures of various objects (Photographing Texture).
Sure, the photographers all know about the early morning magic. Sometimes the laziness strikes us at other times of the day too. To carry a tripod or not, whether to climb that mountain or let it be, going further into the trail might give good photographs, but is it worth the effort? … This articles is how to fight this laziness and create those wonderful photographs, we all long for.
The power of positive thoughts
Our minds can be tricked easily. When on a cold winter morning, the urge to remain tucked within the warmth of blanket is very strong, just letting the mind know what awaits outside can be a powerful motivator to get out of the bed.
Yes, like most of the people out there, when I had a regular job, getting out of the bed was not easy. However when it was a holiday and if I had planned an early morning photowalk, I was up even before the day-break. The vivid images of early morning landscapes would over-power my mind and get me out of my bed.
On a cold winter morning, this sounds like a perfect solution. It is hot and contains enough caffeine to waken up most from the best of their slumbers. Do I recommend it? A big no! Coffee can make you alert but from what I have seen is that, it kills my imagination. My photographs after a cup of coffee turn out to be more monotonous. Without coffee, my mind wakes up slowly and slowly with the passing time and the photographs reflect my state of mind. A dreamy mind creates dreamy photographs.
Caffeine is said to make a person more adaptable. Give your opponent a cup of coffee or tea and within minutes, you’ll have an upper hand at negotiations. Similarly, after a cup of coffee, photographers tend to photograph what is offered to them and they do not try to negotiate with the nature and their cameras.
My recommendation – pack a flask with hot coffee and enjoy it after you have spent some time photographing the early morning images.
(Foggy Morning – f/8 at 1/100 sec on ISO 100. Nikon full frame with 135mm lens)
Get that energy first
No, do not venture out on empty stomach. Recently I read an interesting article that when a person ventures out empty stomach in the morning, our body tries to conserve fuel and starts focusing on how to go about it. The creativity gets over-ridden by this drive to source energy for the body. So, grab a quick bite before stepping out.
I carry an energy bar in my camera bag itself. Sometimes after a long photography outing in the morning, I start to feel hungry and this is what sustains me till I return back to civilization.
Going that extra mile
Is going that extra mile, really worth it? You bet, it is. Many a times, I have been able to get that very perfect image just by walking a little more and reaching the best possible place to capture the photograph. There will be times when the walk will not be fruitful but then there will be even more occasions when this extra walk will give the chance to capture some really wonderful images.
It is once again a ‘mind over matter’ thing. If your mind can be convinced to go that extra mile, the body will no longer feel tired.
(A musician in a subway. Had I crossed the road as most others were doing, by just walking across the empty road, I would have missed this photograph.)
Carrying the extra weight
We photographers have to carry a lot of extra weight most of the time. Sometimes, I feel jealous of my friends who tout a latest model of mobile phone and use it exclusively for photography. However, for me carrying weight is a part of being a photographer, at least for now. (Walking around with a heavy camera). Add to that a tripod and maybe a long lens!
I prefer to carry the least I can. This keeps the photography excursions comfortable for most of the time. However, when a tripod is required, I usually try to carry it along. On a recent photowalk with my friends, I wanted to capture motion blurs of a mountain stream. Carrying a tripod was a must (though I almost hit my head on a rock is an altogether different story – Photowalk – Yet another Mountain Stream).
I have my own way of packing things in my camera bag. Do check this out – Inside my camera bag
(Photographed on one fine morning when I was on way to our hill cottages. Maini’s Hill Cottages – link opens in a new tab)
… and yet the laziness wins!
I kept this for the last. Even after trying all the above, quite frequently laziness ends up winning. I have lost chance to photograph a few really good photographs because of my laziness. After all, I am also a learner. I am still learning photography and also learning to be more proactive.
Today morning, I had planned on taking out my bicycle and hitting a nearby mountain trail. I got up in the morning but the coziness of the warm blanket kept me away from the plan. Maybe for me, photography is a bigger motivator than cycling? For tomorrow, I’ll plan to carry my camera along when I go cycling. … and no, don’t ask me who wins tomorrow!