I recently took a vacation for a few days to visit family out of state. As is often the case with vacations, the time was filled with enjoyable activities, but was not all that restful. As always, I had taken along my camera, and was able to fit in some shooting, but not quite enough. (Is there ever enough shooting time? Not for me!)
So we settled in on the plane for the first leg of the journey home, feeling a little ragged. We took to the sky and the pilot delivered the standard cheerful greeting, followed by the unwelcome news that we were expected to encounter some turbulence and the flight may be a bit rough. Drink and snack service would be suspended so the flight attendants could stay seated and strapped in for safety. I had an uneasy feeling about possible impending airsickness. Ugh. This was not going to be good.
And then the moment presented itself. I looked out the window to see banks upon banks of clouds ... big ones, small ones, fluffy ones, and flat ones, some dark, and some lit by late afternoon sun. We were apparently able to skirt around them, avoiding the turbulence, and giving us a great view of beautiful cloudscapes.
Tired as I was, I couldn't let this view pass me by uncaptured. I got out my camera and began to shoot. I wondered if I could capture any usable images through the tiny airplane window. Would reflections ruin my shots? Would the dirt and scratches on the window show in the photos, and if so, could I process them out? I shot until my SD card ran out of space. Coincidentally, it was getting too dark to keep shooting, and we were beginning our descent to land. I felt satisfied and relaxed.
Later as I reviewed the images, I was pleasantly surprised to find no sign of the window dirt and scratches in my photos, and only one contained a reflection. Happily, several images were not only usable but quite interesting. The photo above is of a flat, anvil shaped white cloud, above darker clouds and sky. On the left, there is a glimpse of more distant clouds lit by the rosy glow of the setting sun.
My point is that photography doesn't always have to be planned. In fact, if we recognize and seize the moment, often we experience relaxation and renewal ... good for the psyche, our perception, and our images.
I'd love to hear about your experiences with photography "in the moment" so please feel free to drop me a line. As always, I wish you happy shooting, and a satisfying photographic journey!