By Richard Shoaf
Live is about balance, or I should say a happy life is about balance. Few of us are fortunate enough to have careers that we absolutely love and are successful in. With this we still have to practice some restraint in those things we love. For example, the consulting firm I started in 1993 has been a life passion and it is easy to spend 16 hour days engaging people with that quest to “save the world”. Not everyone shares the same vision and priorities. I have found myself, from time to time, drained from that level of effort and remember a chapter in a book that I tend to re-read. Chapter 11 – Life Balance in Alan Weiss’s book The Ultimate Consultant – Powerful Techniques for the Successful Practitioner. You will ask, what does this have to do with photography and living life through a lens? Let me explain.
A recent blog posting on Digital Photography School was discussing cruises and photography which brought on a verbal conflict that was very interesting. I think some of the participants lost sight of what the focus was (pun intended). Holidays are there for you to reset your mental clock and try to restore your “Life Balance”, or at least that is what I use them for. Yes, they are a great opportunity to take some photographs and share some experiences in other countries.
Just as in real estate your ability to get those perfect shots is location, location, location. No matter how great your wide angle lens or how great your Photoshop CS5 abilities are will not put you on top of the mountain. (I am sure my wife is loving the sweet irony of me writing this, and I will surely be requested to partake on some journey up some big rock in the near future, I digress) The time on your holiday, a cruise in this case. If you are a professional photographer on a cruise, go fast and light. Minimize your gear and shoot “street”. Maybe you can get everything you need in a ThinkTank Retrospective 30 even with a collapsible tripod. Yes, the full frame camera may be more of a target for theft, but if you remove that eye popping black and yellow strap (yea I am a Nikon user – don’t hate me) it may not grab as many eyes.
I think just taking in the sights and enjoying the moment is what aids me in resetting my mental clock. Then when the inspiration strikes, go for the bag and shoot. Sometimes the images are not perfect but if you are a professional, you know that to be the case many times over. Take your time, take in the environment and enjoy that mint tea on the balcony, you may just glance over and see the photo of the children playing with the monkeys in Marrakech just feet away from the dancing cobras.