The Remarkable Moments
I have a few photographer friends, and I always find the number of shots they take while on assignment both fascinating and overwhelming. For each masterpiece—the kind worthy of being placed on the mantle in your home or in a magazine ad—there are dozens, if not hundreds, of pictures that didn’t make the cut. Photography truly seems to be a numbers game, one where you must shoot until all the essential elements finally align and produce the moment you’re looking for.
I had a conversation with one of these friends just back from a wedding with over four thousand images to filter through. Four thousand! At first, that number seemed excessive until my friend began to tell me her philosophy behind so many shots. She told me sometimes it’s hard to know when an amazing moment is going to happen until it’s too late. What if she misses Grandpa knowingly winking at Grandma? Or the new groom wiping his mother’s tear? The best way to make sure she catches all these moments is to shoot every moment. Sure, most of the pictures will end up being mundane and uneventful, but you often must go through lots of regular to find the remarkable.
There’s a useful analogy here. Remarkable moments in our lives are precious precisely because they don’t come every day. Too few of them, though, make for an empty existence. I believe in seeking remarkable moments. This requires us to determine some of the worthwhile elements that make up something special for us personally and begin to line them up. A few of my own elements are a good friend, a hiking trail, and moonlight. Now, I’ve been on plenty of regular ol’ night hikes in my day—many that I don’t remember at all—but I know that’s just part of the process. As in photography, finding these moments in life is a numbers game. They’ll undoubtedly be there, but you may have to filter through lots of regular to capture the remarkable. It’s worth it, of course, for what would life be without them?
So go see your family. Invite friends for dinner. Talk to the new girl. Wake up early for the sunrise. And lace up your boots for a late night hike. Who knows? You may capture something remarkable.
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