They Tell Me It’s Nice.

Blinded By Disappointment 

A larger field of purple lupine under a stormy sky at sunrise.

Have you ever had your heart so set on something that achieving anything less would be a disappointment? That’s how this photograph started out for me.

I was heading to Sugar Hill, NH for the annual Fields Of Lupine Festival, where the photographic possibilities are almost endless. Especially if you like lupine. However, as the weekend drew near, the weather forecast was not looking good. Not looking good at all. “Chance of rain, possibly heavy at times for both Friday and Saturday, though possibly clearing on Sunday”. Being the gambler I am, with visions of dramatic skies lit by the rising sun peeking over mountain tops, in my mind, I headed north anyway, just in case. Dramatic weather = dramatic photographs after all.

Saturday afternoon, after doing a little scouting, I knew the view in the photo above was where I wanted to be for sunrise. That set, some friends and I headed to The Basin, a waterfall I had never photographed before. Then we headed into Woodstock, NH for dinner. If you’re ever in Woodstock, I highly recommend the Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery. Great food and great beer!

Dawn’s Promise Unfulfilled

As I poked my head out of my tent and looked up, I was very happy to see a few stars twinkling through the breaks in the clouds. It was going to be a good morning for photography, or so I hoped. Upon arriving in this field of beautiful purple flowers, not only were we far from the first ones there (if you’re the type of photographer who seeks solitude while practicing your craft, Sugar Hill during the Lupine Festival is definitely NOT for you), but the breaks in the clouds I had seen earlier were nowhere to be found.

My enthusiasm for the morning was vanishing rapidly.

So, blinded by disappointment to the photographic possibilities before me, I set up my tripod, sure I wasn’t going to be happy with anything I got.

Through The Eyes Of Others Mine Are Opened

From the press of the shutter, to the final post processing, as far as I was concerned it was only an “okay” photograph. The exposure was good, the composition was too, and I was fairly happy with the processing. But still only “okay ” at best. But since I hadn’t changed the cover photo on my fan page in a while, and I hadn’t processed any of the waterfall shots from the weekend, I put it out there for all the world to see.

The overwhelming response took me completely by surprise. “Liked” over 600 times, shared at least 100 times (I couldn’t keep track of the shares from shares from shares), I was dumbfounded.  Considering my usually care-free, “there’s always next time” attitude towards my landscape photography when the weather doesn’t play nice, I’m surprised by both my complete disappointment at the way the morning turned out, and that it took other people’s response to this photograph to make me see it for what it really is.

Going forward I have every intention of enjoying the photographic possibilities I’m presented with, and not dwell on the ones I’m not.

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31 thoughts on “They Tell Me It’s Nice.

    • Thank you Cindy. I have come to see that it is a pretty decent photo. What really surprised me was how I felt while making it. The disappointment at the conditions had me wishing I was anywhere else. Usually I’m “Oh well, there’s always next time.” But for some reason that wasn’t the case this past Saturday.

    • Thank you Dorothy. “Enjoy the moment” is how I usually go about my photography. If the conditions are perfect, great, if not, oh well. That mountain isn’t going anywhere. This time was different for some reason. I think part of the problem was that there are numerous waterfalls in the area that the conditions were perfect for, and I was wishing I was shooting them instead.

      Of course I did make it to the waterfalls, and got in a killer hike too. Totally lifted my spirits!

    • I’ve definitely had plenty of those moments. I quite often post photos to my fan page if I’m unsure about them. Not the obvious duds of course(yes I do make those 🙂 ), but I’ve often been surprised by the response to photos that had been headed for the trash. So if the composition, exposure, etc are basically good, but I’m just not “feeling it,” I’ll share it with my fans and see how it does. More than a few have gotten a reprieve, and several that were headed to photo heaven have even made it onto my website.

  1. Great little life lesson. The photo is better than nice, it’s really beautiful. I get even more of a sense of beauty of the flower field and mountains with the gray sky backdrop contrast. 🙂
    -And the Woodstock Station is one of my FAVORITE restaurants in the area.

    • Thanks a lot Holly! I now see the photo for what it is, now that my very uncharacteristic mood that day is a distant memory. Sunday morning while making it however was a different story. Oddly enough, I was aware of how foul my mood was and just couldn’t lift myself out of the funk. It took getting me onto the Falling Waters Trail to bring me back to my normal, take it as it comes self.

      By the way, have you ever hiked the Falling Waters Trail? If not, the next time you’re in the area you must! Since the Woodstock Station is a favorite, I assume you’ve polished off a Double Death By Burger? I’ll have to look for your picture on the Wall Of Fame 😛

      • Jeff, glad you came out of your funk & realized what a beauty of a pic you took 🙂
        I haven’t hiked the Falling Waters Trail! I need to do it next time I go up there, thanks for the tip. Funny how long I lived & continue to go to NH & there is still SO MUCH I am still discovering about it.
        I have not even attempted the Double Death By Burger, I can barely eat a regular burger. but their Rockhead Wellington is one of my favs: Meatloaf in a puff pastry w/ caramelized onions, yummm!
        -now I’m hungry.

        • Thanks Holly.

          Yes, you must hike Falling Waters. At least up to Cloudland Falls anyway. The view from Little Haystack is pretty nice, but it’s the waterfalls along the first half of the trail that really make the trek worth it.

          That Double Death would be the death of me too. Their regular sized burgers are huge as it is, and I’m not a small guy. But 36oz of beef with bun etc., no way! I’ll have to try the Rockhead Wellington on my next visit. Thanks for the tip.

  2. It’s not nice Jeff … it’s simply fabulous! Gorgeous colours – a simply wonderful blend of blues, greens and purples, and the picture oozes a great calmness.

    I think sometimes our inner-critic just can’t see the wood for the trees. Maybe we’re so close to and wrapped up in our creations that we’re unable to see them with a detached eye. It’s so hard to stand back and see your paintings, photographs, or written words etc as another would.

    Love those lupins! 🙂

    • Thank you Jude. Your comment reminds me of a discussion that came up at our New England Photography Guild meeting. The talent we have in the Guild is amazing, but pretty much everyone of the members wonders, “how can I compare my work to so-and-so’s, mine isn’t that good.” Pretty much every member thinks the other member’s work is better than their own. I know my photos are ok, good even (hope that doesn’t sound too egotistical), but I’m continuously amazed at the response I get. No matter how far my photography takes me, I sincerely hope I never lose that feeling. I appreciate every single comment I get.

  3. I echo a lot of the commenters. Although it’s not what you had in your head, it is more than good and shows that you can work with what you’re presented with. That’s half the battle with photography and what we think of as “imperfect” conditions. And it’s something I struggle with myself. Taking the image out of my head and really seeing the possibilities I have in the moment. You did well.

    • Thanks a lot Kris. I must have really been channeling my inner photographer on Sunday morning. Being in the “I wish I were someplace else” mood I was in, and still being able to pull off a decent shot is a surprise unto itself. I just don’t get where the funk I was in came from. I’ve driven further, wanted to make a photograph more, only to have the conditions not cooperate, many times before. Every other time I’ve been able to either go with it or chalk it up to “better luck next time.”

  4. It’s a lovely image, and definitely a life lesson to hold onto. My best images are a mix of planning and a willingness to be flexible in the moment. And art is definitely in the eye of the beholder! We are always our worst critics. 🙂

    • No question there. I actually kind of like feeling my work isn’t as good as the work of others. It keeps me driven to do even better. If I ever stop feeling I can improve my craft, that I’m just too good to get any better, I don’t think I could continue shooting. I guess I should be proud of myself for being able to go into this situation, not “feeling it” at all, and still making a decent photo.

  5. No, it is not nice… it is effing awesome and if you ask me even better than your sunrises :P. Speaking of blind I had a visit from a blind photographer today and saw his great work…. it puzzles me….

    • You’re far too kind! I do find it strange that I was able to make a photo that pretty much everyone who’s seen it likes, when I was in a grumpy mood and not putting in the effort I normally put into a photograph.

      A blind photographer huh? Interesting, very interesting.

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