Photography is often defined as the art of capturing a moment, or as some photographers might argue, capturing “the” moment. That elusive slice of time when all things line up creating a perfect moment to release the shutter, as if all variables are assigned the right values to solve an equation giving the only correct solution. I have come to realize that this romanticizing of this singular moment does not do justice to the equally, if not more, beautiful time preceding the so-called moment.
For quite some time I used to make the mistake of trying to reach a location just in time for ideal conditions to line up. This turned into an exercise of trying to capture the right photograph as opposed to savoring the right experience. It felt like entering a musical performance just before the crescendo and missing out on the beauty of the notes that led up to that magnificent climax.
As I am slowly leaving behind the last minute scrambler in me, I have started to feel the difference. The anxiety of wasting time and being less productive has been replaced by a sense of time really well spent. It has allowed me to slow down the frantic pace of everyday life and appreciate its small pleasures. This has also resulted in some of my recent images like this and this which I have had the most wonderful time capturing.
On one such occasion, I had set out to shoot a moon-rise from a recently discovered beautiful location. I reached just as the sun was setting but did not click a single picture of it! I chose to marvel in its beauty instead. As the slowly fading beautiful orange gradient enveloped the horizon, I began to idly set up my tripod and camera. The sky was pitch dark now and on the trail leading to where I was, I could see a torch light bumping up and down, ambling towards me. An approximately 70 year old man with a small camera attached to a flimsy tripod showed up. Panting for breath he took a seat on the only bench next my tripod. As he was setting up his camera, we started chatting and he mentioned excitedly that he was looking forward to shooting the moonrise. There was no way he was going to get an impressive shot of the rising moon with his point-and-shoot. Yet he showed up, presumably to enjoy the experience more than anything else. I couldn’t help but admire him and thought to myself, “That’s such a lovely way to age!”
As we were chatting, we saw a faint light appearing in the direction of the mountains surrounding the valley. That warm glow grew stronger and within seconds a huge yellowish-orange orb started to emerge almost mid-air. As we both stood there soaking in the beauty of the scene, I realized that I had never ever seen a full moon rise before! Over the next few minutes we quietly took some shots and left the scene while the now white orb scaled higher.
Although the image turned out to be almost what I was hoping to create, that little encounter during the waiting period was what I cherish the most about that night. If taking a picture is the destination, then I can surely attest that the journey of waiting is equally beautiful. I can’t wait to wait again!