What’s the surest way to fail at getting a great photograph? To not go out at all.
I cannot count the number of times that I’ve been glad that I’ve bothered to get up early, or delay the dinner, or braved the rain for the chance that the elements would come together.
In the summer of 2007, I flew into Lhasa for a photo project. I was out immediately exploring around The Jokhang, Tibet’s most sacred Buddhist temple, despite not having been acclimatized. As the late afternoon rains came in, most scrambled for shelter. However, I could see in the west that the cloud cover did not reach down to the horizon. If the rain remained long enough until the sun dipped below the clouds, I knew a rainbow would appear. So rather than join others in comfort, I paid the 70RMB entrance fee to the temple, and climbed a set of stairs up to the roof. It didn’t take long before I was able to capture a fantastic rainbow almost perfectly centred over the roof of The Jokhang.
Did that take incredible skill? Not really. I think many people with a reasonable sense of composition could have captured a similar image. Next time you are considering staying in, or going in, think again. Perhaps that great photograph that you captured by staying out will remain with you for your life, while you’ve probably already forgotten that you were hungry just a bit longer while being out there.
During that period, the only others up on the roof with me were a French fellow, and a couple of monks, one of whom had a nice Nikon camera. Now I know what some of those entrance fees go towards!