Tag Archives: California

What is the most important life lesson I have learned from my photography?

White-Spotted Rose Anemone, Channel Islands National Park, California.

See The Light, a workshop I am teaching with Dewitt Jones on Molokai has begun, and Dewitt started the week off with a question: What is the most important life lesson you have learned from your photography?  I can think of hundreds of life lessons I have learned from my photography, but one of the lessons that floats to the top of the edit is something I learned doing underwater photography thanks to a great mentor of mine, Ralph Clevenger.  As I was just learning the technical side of making photographs underwater, Ralph told me one of his secrets to its artistic side.  He said, and I am going to paraphrase here, ‘You have limited resources when you are underwater because eventually your air’s going to run out.  So don’t spend your time wasting air and energy swimming around.  Find a pretty spot and stay there.  Look around.  There is a sub-sea city full of wonder all around you. ’  I thought a lot about what Ralph said and later, during my travels, began to apply the same technique of finding a pretty spot and waiting.  I never though of this in a metaphorical sense until many years later when Dewitt was talking with me about finding the place of maximum potential, and then, no pun intended, it clicked.  In photography I knowingly or unknowingly, have always tried to put myself in the place of maximum potential for the shot.  Then I would wait, watch and decisively act when the time was right.  As Dewitt was speaking many years ago, I realized the same statute applies in my life.  Ever since that day, in life and photography, I often find myself asking the question – what is the place of maximum potential, and can I be patient enough to wait for the right moment to act?

I would love to hear your thoughts on the most important life lessons photography has taught you…