Persistence and Patience – The other two ‘P’s in Photography


Outdoor photography is a hit or miss proposition, and often it seems that there are more misses than hits. You hit the ground before sunrise, gear at the ready, get into position, and then… nothing. The light is poor, the weather turns bad, the subject aren’t cooperative.

Don’t let it deter you from returning tomorrow, or next week, or even later in the same day. Photography is a lot like fishing, and like golf. You have a lot of bad days, but those really fantastic days are the ones that keep you coming back. Keep after it, stay persistent. You’ll learn from the bad days. The “magic moment” will come, if you have the patience to wait for it.

I live a few blocks from Tampa Bay, and have been visiting this spot near my home for more than 5 years. I’ve taken some excellent shots here, and a lot of mediocre ones.

On this particular morning, I walked out of my door to get the newspaper, and as I turned around, I saw the most glorious clouds receding into the east, with the sun just peeping out under them. I ran back in, dropped the paper and grabbed the camera. I hopped in the car and zipped down the street to meet the sunrise, and captured some wonderful images.

All told, I had about 3-4 minutes of shooting before the light went flat and the magic was gone.


A few factors contributed to these images, besides a very cooperative mother nature:

  • I had my camera close at hand, with the batteries charged. My gear was ready at hand.
  • I knew the spot, having scouted it many times. When I saw the sunrise, I knew where I needed to be.
  • Persistence, in keeping at it and trying lots of locations, times and techniques, learning from both good and bad results.
  • Patience, in waiting for the opportunity to come to me. And it did.

When you get frustrated because the magic isn’t happening, remember: persistence and patience.

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