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We all know that feeling: you are exhausted, you just got home or to the hotel after a long day, the weather is shit and the last thing you want to do is go out and take photos. This is something I battle with constantly. I’m on the road 365 days a year and often I spend long hours getting to a location. When I finally arrive there, I’m tired, dirty, hungry and then, to take photos at the correct time during the golden and blue hour, I have to drag myself out there yet again during a time when most people have dinner and cuddle up inside with warm tea and a movie.
But, I have not once regretted going out and photographing a place. To demonstrate that, I’ll show you three different photos, all of them taken during absolutely exhausting and miserable times, that turned out amazing. They changed my mindset and have made me more motivated to stop feeling so sorry for myself and just head out. I hope it will do the same for you.
Location: Kirkjufell Mountain on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland
Those of you that have been to Iceland know, that the weather is often dreadful, mostly cold and always extremely windy. After a long day of driving from Reykjavik all around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula to Grundarfjördur – obviously with lots of photo stops in between – I got to the Kirkjufell Mountain during a drizzly, windy evening. I wrestled my tent into submission, tried to get the gas stove going in the heavy gusts, failed and in the end, sat there shivering in about 5 layers of clothing plus a Mongolian fur hat and felt like just calling it a day. I toyed with the idea of shooting the mountain the next morning, but then thought better of it as I hate getting up for sunrise even more than going out in the rain. So I hopped back in the car, drove to the location, almost lost the car in a sudden flood, ran back and moved the car, got both feet soaking wet, was really cold, wiped the raindrops and spray off the lens about 1000 times, almost lost a filter in the the torrent of water and was pretty miserable the whole time – but at least I wasn’t bored and I went back to my campsite with some amazing photos on my memory card.
Location: Orkhon Waterfall in Central Mongolia
The sky in this image gives off the impression that it had been lovely all day, right? Wrong. The weather can change fast in Mongolia and half an hour earlier, I was looking out of my ger and watching a huge storm brewing, which was threatening to cut loose at any moment. I was still scarred from an storm earlier that week, that had turned into a tornado, torn our tents from the ground and had killed one person in a town down the road. So I was very hesitant to go out shooting that evening, especially since it required a half an hour hike across the grassy plains to the location of the Orkhon Waterfall. I thought, that at best I’d get wet, at worst it could get dangerous. I decided to both ignore my hurting butt from a days drive across the bumpy dirt roads of Central Mongolia, as well as the threatening clouds above and headed out anyway. As soon as I got to the thundering waterfall, the clouds disappeared within minutes and left behind what I describe as the best light of my photography career.
Location: Longji Rice Terraces in China
Dazhai Village, located in the middle of the incredible Longji Rice Terraces in Guangxi Province, are a steep hike away from the bus stop down the mountain and they are by far one of the most kickass things you can see in China. But, during the two days I spent at the dragon’s backbone, I was battling food poisoning, plus, the mists were so thick that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. Not really ideal conditions to get up in the pitch black night, hike uphill another half an hour and shoot the sunrise. Most people would have stayed in bed and tried to get healthy again, but I dragged myself up that last mountain on hands and knees anyway, all because I was determined to get at least one good image as a reward for the painful hike while being sick. As the sun started to rise, the change in temperature caused the mists to lift for a few minutes and allowed me to get this shot of the glittering rice terraces and the traditional village below. Worth it? I think so.
These three images show, that I often go out shooting even if the weather is dreadful, if I’m sick or if I simply don’t feel like going out there again after a long day of travelling. I hope they motivate you to go out shooting, no matter what the conditions are and get some amazing photos in the process.