Travel Principle #6 – Take The Photo
Sometimes you will find yourself in a beautiful place, but you will be among a crowd of tourists. Other times you will sit and wait for the perfect light or for some rare occasion to take place. Still other times you may be too tired, in a hurry, or otherwise convincing yourself you can always come back and take the photo later.
You never know when you will return, or if the same conditions will exist upon your return. Take the photo. It may not turn out the way you want it to even in perfect conditions. But if you want the photo, take it.
Take the Photo: Seize The Day
Another way of looking at Travel Principle 6 is to consider the latin expression carpe diem, seize the day. There are far too many things that may or may not happen tomorrow. In fact, anything is possible. So if you find yourself in a beautiful place and time, take the photo!
What if there are people in the photo, or it isn’t exactly like you expected it would be?
Maybe it’s too cloudy, or sunny?
Or perhaps it’s midday and not sunrise or sunset?
If there is any chance at all you will not be able to return tomorrow, take the photo today!
What Could Happen?
A thousand things could happen between now and when you plan to return. Some of them might be good things. You might make a new friend or get a tip on a more beautiful place to explore.
Others might be terrible. You might have your camera stolen, or you might die. (I know, that’s a little extreme!).
But in every scenario where you tell yourself that you will be back, there’s a chance you will not.
A Once In A Lifetime Trip
I once traveled to the famed Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile. I was traveling with a group of friends I had made, collectively, while heading south down Chilean Patagonia. Because I had not planned such a trip, I hardly knew what to expect.
But all of my friends knew what to expect. Some of them had planned this trip for years. I was fortunate enough to drop into the middle of their plans so I, too, could experience tremendous beauty at the end of the world.
We hiked for several days toward the “Towers” of rock from which the park drew its name. They were elusive in the Patagonian climate. The weather shifted too frequently and often clear skies in the morning would turn cloudy only minutes later. Any shot of the Towers was a good shot, as far as many travelers were concerned.
Several days into the trip I was growing weary of the climate. One morning I woke up in my tent beneath a foot of snow. Another day I was so uncomfortable and filthy that I squatted in a freezing stream to wash off. I had improper hiking boots and I was quickly getting tired of the modest meals we had packed.
We set up camp one night at the base of the last portion of the hike to the Towers. It was a beautiful, clear evening and from a distance you could see that the Towers were visible. My friends decided they would take an evening hike after setting up camp to try and sneak a shot of the Towers.
I declined as I was not in the mood to hike anymore. Of course I told them I’d be ready to go in the morning. It was a cool, clear night. Surely the morning would be the same?
Of course it wasn’t the same in the morning. I missed my chance. In fact I was so bummed and exhausted that I decided to leave my friends and hike myself out of the park.
My friends stayed and waited out the weather. Not only did they have great photos from the evening before. They also ended up with some pretty spectacular ones shortly after I abandoned them.
We always say we’ll go back. But sometimes we get so distracted by life, or things change so quickly, that we never return. I’ve learned to be OK with a half-decent photo, or experience, if it was that moment that I wanted to capture. I’ve learned it is pretty easy to delete older, less desirable photos if I do happen to make it back and everything is lined up the way I hoped it would be.
But generally speaking, take advantage of each moment to live fully in the moment. I am not a subscriber of YOLO. I don’t advocate living recklessly today with no thought of tomorrow. But I do advocate for taking the photo, going on the trip, kissing the girl (or boy). Do the thing in front of you when it is in front of you.
Take the photo. You won’t regret it.