I May (Or May Not) Be Just About Ready to Snap
Anyone who knows me knows that it can sometimes take me a while to feel like I've truly finished working a subject. I might not even snap a single frame for some while. What can I say?
To clarify something at the outset here, I'm not saying I work slowly all the time. When the light is changing rapidly, I have to keep up or risk missing the shot. No one can take longer to shoot than the subject will allow. But when time does permit, I find it useful to put it to good use.
I know how I got this way. Early in my pursuit of photography, I wasn't like this. But as much as I liked many of those early images, I found that at least in some of them, I would notice niggling little details that I wish I had known seen before I pressed the shutter release rather than after. If only I had noticed how those two branches overlapped, or that shooting from a slightly lower position would have completely hidden my camera's view of that burned out tree stump. I figure that if I slowed down and paid attention, I should at least have a fighting shot next time. I figure that, while some things can be addressed later in Lightroom or Photoshop, but the only time to record the material I will have at my disposal is then and there, in the field, camera in hand. Or on tripod. You get my point.
When you think about it, you can, and likely will, look at some of your images for a considerable time. Whether while editing them on your computer or admiring them hanging on your walls or displayed on your website, you can become quite familiar with your own work. Once rendered in pixels or printer ink, photos are static, but not necessarily lifeless. Each has a story to tell, and each has lessons they can teach. The time to put those lessons into practice is the next time you go our shooting. In this way, you become your own teacher. You can learn a lot about photography from others, but some things you can only learn from yourself.
It's an interesting balance. Being in the moment in order to see what is there in front of me without pre-judging what I think out to be there. Being thoughtful and deliberate while leaving room for spontaneity and improvisation. Something akin to a form of mindfulness practice perhaps. All I can say for sure is that it's a helpful way to approach being a better photographer, or at least of getting the most out of your attempts at getting better.
So, if you come across me sitting beside a trail someday, engrossed in a mushroom or a mud puddle on a later afternoon, I may be just about ready to snap a picture. But then again, I may not. Please, feel free to sit down and join me. If you have the time.