While I have done a bit of driving around to find a better vantage or hunting new landscapes and vistas, that is not the sort of “drive” I am talking about.I’m thinking more of the drive that makes us pursue more and better photographs of people, places, and things we have already captured.
I remember how proud I was of my first photographs of an elk. (You can see those photos and read about how not to approach an elk here- The Elk and the Tripod) I thought those images were amazing, that I was nearly ready to hop on a plane somewhere and work for National Geographic as a wildlife photographer. And yet, I kept going out, searching for more elk to photograph, thinking that I might somehow manage to capture some better images… And I am very glad I did. Looking back, those first images were almost laughable compared to some of the ones I’ve captured since.
And I realize now, that this image of a young elk is not the best photograph I can take of an elk. It may be one of the best I’ve done so far, but I can do better, I can keep improving. I can show more stages in the life cycle of an elk, capture different faces, different activities. I haven’t even come close to exhausting the possibilities with the few hundred images I have taken of them. There is a hunger to outdo myself… I suppose when I am out photographing, it is a very competitive activity, but the one I am competing with is myself.
There comes a point, when you realize that something is good, maybe even really good, but that you can do better, that you can explore more of the world and share the world in better and more expressive ways.I have so many photographs that I’ve taken that I think are just fantastic and amazing, but that isn’t going to stop me from trying to go out and create even better, more expressive images.
It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve photographed a species, if I feel I am in a situation where I can get better photographs or ones that show a different aspect of that species, then I am going to try for those photographs, even if I don’t have an immediate use for them.
I wouldn’t have the images that I do, if I didn’t hunger to improve and to share as much of the natural world as I can. It is the beast that gnaws from within. Sometimes the beast gets satiated, but then it comes back hungrier than ever. I hope you have your own inner beast, and that feed it all that you can
Your words like your images, are so inspiring. I know exactly the feeling of which you speak. I find there are photos that I am proud I have taken, but there is the ardent urge to do better. And it is not for money or anything to bring recognition, it is for the pure joy of it. Photography is a passion and if paid to do it as a job, I think I would lose the fervor. I know this is true, because architecture and graphic arts went the same route. And they are professions I have gotten recognition and award. Oddly, that is not enough. As much adventure there would be working for Nat Geo like you mentioned, it would wear in time I bet meeting deadlines and client demand. That kills spirit. I love your photos and you have helped guide my direction in photography. You are a great teacher, even 3000 miles away!
I suspected some of you would know exactly what I was talking about, and that you and quietsolopursuits would be two of them. Glad I wasn’t disappointed
And there is that tricky balance between doing something you love and doing it because you have to, while keeping it as something you love. It is something I continually struggle with.
In some ways, when I was new to cameras I experimented more, because I didn’t know what cameras could and couldn’t do. I sometimes miss that thrill of experimentation (I still experiment with my photography, but in different ways), but at the same time I am often happier with my images.
I suffer from the same disease, the drive to take the perfect photo of every species I see. Since perfection can never be obtained, I guess that I’ll have to keep on shooting. A great post, and fantastic photos to illustrate it!
It IS a disease and an addiction… and one that I don’t mind having
Your photographs are tops, amazing! And your words today have summed up ‘what it is to be a passionate photographer!’ Keep it up, we love your work!
Thank you. Photography should be all about passion
Your comments also ring true with me. It’s the constant striving to get better that keeps the passion burning and growing with some frustrating moments thrown in for good measure. Great article.
I can tell by your wonderful photographs, that you truly feel the drive to capture amazing moments
Nice evolution of photos! That bobcat is one handsome devil!
Thank you. Bobcats are some of my favorites to try to photograph
I especially loved the Bobcat. Enjoyed all the photos.
Thanks for visiting my blog and I had to check out yours. I love your wildlife photos – vivid images that make me want to reach out and pet them:-) I will check back often for more inspiration. Thanks!