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This tip is simple; the best photos I’ve ever done got taken when it was late, when I was cold, when the weather was bad etc. Sometimes I had to wait a long time for the right shot, or get up at some weird hour. If you want the shots no one else is getting, you’ve got to be passionate enough to put yourself out there, and patient enough to stay the course until you get your shot :)
Long Beach in the Fog, Vancouver Island BC
The day was cold and clammy. Tito and I were burned out because we’d slept in a car the previous night (long story). We took one look at the beach, and it was deserted, not to mention freezing. It was perfect. Shots of beautiful desolation and eerie lighting were our prize for staying the course that day! My favourite were the 2 surfers who took a chance on the waves despite the weather.
Morning after the storm: Toronto Harbour
It was a furious snowstorm, a couple feet of snow fell overnight. Normally this sounds like a pizza, a movie rental and a sleep-in. Not so, for me this meant an early morning alarm and a hike through the snow in the hour just before dawn. My reward was clear skies, a frozen lake, smooth, untrodden-upon mounds of snow and a beautiful sunrise!
The Hummingbird’s nest: Monte Verde Costa Rica
This little nest is no bigger than my fist. I could hear the little baby chirping inside and I knew if I could just remain totally motionless with my zoom lens set up the mom would come and feed her baby. I had mixed feelings about doing this – I was so worried that my presence would stop her from coming back, or make her aggressive towards me, but I needn’t have feared. An uncomfortable half hour of crouching and I got this touching shot.
Lava Flow: Mt Kiluea, Hawaii
I went to Hawaii just for this volcano. Of all the gorgeous things we saw, wildlife and landscape and pristine beaches, the lava was the winner for me. Instead of a daytime hike to the flow site we opted for a 3 am boat ride on terrifying, rough ocean. It was dark, bumpy, and hot. Some of the most adverse conditions I’ve ever shot in. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, and the shots were more than worth it.
Aurora Borealis: South Ontario
It was a work night, and it was cold, and we were already tired. On top of that it was raining hard in Toronto, and snowing hard up north. But you just never know when mother nature is going to give you a show. So after checking the forecast on spaceweather.com we decided to drive out in a snowstorm. We headed west to try and escape the storm and not 15 minutes after passing the edge of the cloud we got this shot. Freezing. Tired. Terrible driving conditions. Totally worth it.
Electrical storm: Toronto Ontario
We had one of those great, high summer electrical storms. Go home and keep cameras dry? Nope, get the car and chase that storm around looking for our shot. Now, lightning is the epitome of patient shooting, but when you do get it, there’s a lot of jumping around, pumping your fist in the air and screaming. Even if you are soaking wet because you lovingly draped your raincoat over your camera instead of yourself.
All my favourite shots, the ones closest to my heart, are the shots that took work. So remember, when the tourists go home, when it’s too late, too cold or too wet, that’s when dedicated photographers are just heading out! Approach photography with passion and determination. Always be willing to put yourself out there, when you do get your shot the rewards will be worth it.