On Expectations

“If I did so what has already been done, I might be a plagiarist and would consider myself unworthy; therefore i do something different and people contact me a scoundrel. I’d rather be a scoundrel than a plagiarist! ” – Paul Gauguin

Before heading to a new place, something I have tried to do is *not* look up the very best views or trails. Rather than going wherever I plan to go with prior expectations, I am able to witness the beauty of the location with virgin eyes. This allows for photographs to be manufactured which have not been inspired by anyone else’s works. Rather than being subconsciously moved to photograph the popular, attention-grabbing compositions, intimate, meaningful moments are revealed in a natural manner. Of course , the “popular shots” will likely still be taken – they’re popular for the reason, after all – but they do not exist as the main goal of the trip.

For my 2021 trip to Acadia National Park in Maine, I ensured to look up as few information on the area as possible. Aside from knowing the park was an isle with beautiful fall shades and harsh winters, I put little knowledge of trails plus popular locations. Instead of looking things up, Mel and I requested her aunt and dad – who have lived in the region for over twelve years – where they recommended we go. And when we arrived at the visitor center, we inquired a ranger for their viewpoint on some nice trails. With those options in mind, we assumed our vacation was set.

After the first two days, however , we realized we would have to find some flatter trails to balance all the mountains. We were not at all used to hiking 700+ foot-tall mountains; the particular Bubbles at Jordan Fish-pond surely revealed that to us.

The Lady's Slippers, 5-29-21

Jesup Path was mostly of the areas I had looked upward prior to coming to Acadia. The trail full of birch trees and shrubs – my favorite of all trees – it was a trek I knew I had going to. This “research, ” as they say, had been done in 2020, when Mel and I were initially planning to head to Acadia. Then COVID hit, and the rest is history, as they say.

Until our tiring hike of the Bubbles, the Jesup Path trail has been largely left un-remembered. Whether or not it was Mel or We who mentioned it is inappropriate. It wasn’t long before I had been looking up additional photographic trails in Acadia to hit. In most cases, they aligned well along with those recommended by other people. That wasn’t an issue.

What became a problem is that I viewed a beautifully simplistic photograph of the birch trees along the trail in the tall grasses. Instantly upon seeing that piece simply by another photographer, thoughts of photographing the scene raced through my mind.

Peel Apart, 10-23-21

Though we’d decided to first tempt Loss of life himself by summiting Dorr Mountain – a 1270 foot tall rock – we managed to keep surviving long enough to witness the particular calm beauty of Jesup Route. While on the trail, I couldn’t find any manner in which to escape that composition taken by another photographer.

Had they used the use of a telephoto lens to reach into the distant birches plus isolate the “best” ones? Had the trees that they had captured since died and fallen, destroying associated with reproducing that beauty? Probably they had maliciously defied the particular trees, hoping not to have got anyone else capture that same scene. That’s unlikely, in the event that for no other reason compared to trail being popular and their chances of being caught in the act rather higher.

Instead of keeping present and capturing the wonder as it was found, I can not help but concentrate my efforts on this composition. Rather than being satisfied with the idea of being out in character, proud of having scaled the 1270 foot tall mountain, excited about the few compositions I had captured, I was trapped fighting this composition and the power it maintained over me.

Final Words, 5-30-21

Expectations can have both good and bad side effects. They are a powerful pressure which can easily ruin a photographic outing – like in my case – or they can push the mind towards a much more creative state, allowing for the creation of story works. How the mind handles expectations depends largely on the individual. Having expectations of an area prior to exploring it, for me, ruins the mood and stifles my creativity. My ability to create story works is left having difficulties and my enjoyment from the exploration is killed the brutal death.

So , if you are left sensation as though you are only capturing the obvious, over-shot, popular compositions – and are dissatisfied with that approach, as there is nothing wrong with it otherwise – probably the issue stems from arriving at the location with prior expectations. Perhaps you will be better off not seeing the photographs of a place taken by others before you discover it yourself. Your creativity will likely thank you.

Potted Fern, 7-31-21

Expectations can go beyond simple compositions. Perhaps probably the most prevalent of these would be those of GAS, or Gear Purchase Syndrome. There seems to be a developing number of individuals who believe having the latest-and-greatest camera or lens will help them to improve their pictures.

In some cases, indeed, there is truism to this ideology. For landscape photographers requiring more details in their pieces in order to print larger for their customers, yes, a high-megapixel camera would be worthwhile. Their requirements would therefore be fulfilled.

However , the particular hobbyist photographer who wants they require a new, high -megapixel camera and the “holy trinity” lens – typically the 14-24mm, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm f/2. 8 zoom lenses – because their beginning gear would be sorely disappointed to see that their work is nowhere close to the quality of their favorite photographer, who just so happens to use the same equipment. Their particular expectations would neither be met nor satisfied in different manner. In fact , the likelihood of them giving up photography and marketing their gear would just increase.

Evaluate this, then, with the hobbyist who starts out with the cheapest gear they may acquire. Their expectations of being able to catch photographs as beautiful because their favorite photographer right off the bat will likely be much lower. This then boosts the likelihood of them keeping the particular camera and working with this for as long as possible, until the equipment no longer meets their newly acquired needs. As you may imagine, this new gear will thereby satisfy their anticipation.

Untitled, 8-2-21

I can go on regarding expectations and how they may be met or left unsatisfied. From being able to find a composition which was expected inside a new area, to FUEL, and beyond, expectations may be found all around us. What issues is not how to avoid them entirely but rather how to tame them so as to mold them in to something beneficial. This may be required for a number of ways, depending upon both the individual and the situation.

Let us take, for instance , expectations revolving around previously-noted compositions, such as in my case with Jesup Path as well as the birch trees. Rather than going to the trail shortly after having viewed the other photographer’s composition, it will have been more beneficial to wait a few days to allow my goals to die down. This could have also allowed for me to develop other compositional ideas, for example an abstract photograph of the blowing tall-grass which covered the ground. In fact , I had attempted a composition such as this, but due to my mind being so preoccupied, it however did not turn out right. I hadn’t spent the necessary time on getting it just as wished and it failed.

Had I felt the particular strong urge to go to Jesup immediately, I could have – should have – worked to push the desired expectation through my mind as best as is possible. This could have been done through the use of meditating within the forest before bringing out my camera. Provided I had the time, I also could have slowly walked the trail, taking in the possibilities while even searching for the composition. Along the way back, then, I could possess begun exposing whatever moments I deemed worthy, allowing my creativity to flow, knowing the scene I likely to find was simply not there.

In The Breeze, 10-21-21

Ultimately, the best option of all would have visited avoid laying eyes on any other photographs of the region, especially those taken by some other photographers. This is something which I continue to hope to do in the near future as I explore new locations. It will not always be possible – especially regarding such popular places as Death Area and Zion – however the effort will surely be worth it, as it shall help to result in more novel, creative photos. And at the end of the day, isn’t that the most important goal? To make novel works of significant art? To show people how we, as artists, see the great the world around us? That will, at least, is my goal; and I hope to never allow any expectations to change that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.