I tend to be a fairly solitary photographer in the field, with not much around other than my subjects and me. I usually have a lot going on in my head – mostly internal pressure to find something to photograph as I know something must always be out there, it is just up to me to find it. Tossing around ideas, concepts, trying to remember that thing I was supposed to remember, working against time and changing light.
But every now and then, the spots I pick have other people around – walkers, joggers, hikers, dog walkers. If I have a long lens, you will get questions if you are photographing “an ant on the moon,” but more often than not people wonder what the heck I am photographing. The subject perhaps isn’t always so obvious. I suppose I can’t blame people for being curious. It is not everyday you see some guy with a tripod extended more than 6 feet up leaning against a tree looking upward. Despite the disruption in concentration, or perhaps the rapidly fading light, I try to be polite and just tell them. But I’d rather not get into a long explanation explaining it.
The funny thing is – sometimes I get a reaction like “Oh…” Then silence. I figure they either don’t want to ask further questions, or came to the conclusion this guy has missing some screws. I may be actually asking myself the same question – why the heck am I photographing this??! But I’d rather come to the answer on my own. That happened when I was photographing these trees. A couple of elderly ladies were out for their morning walk, and saw this guy with a tripod precariously leaning against the tree above. I answered what I thought was rather obvious “This Tree.”
Yep…. I got the “Oh…” And they just stood there looking at me. They have probably walked past this tree hundreds of times, but from where they were standing on the boardwalk off to the side, it probably just looked like… well – a tree. :-) Now I am feeling pressured to elaborate. I told them “I thought the design of these branches was really interesting.” One of the ladies responded “Yes, trees are beautiful,” and they moved on. I may not be 100% confident I even know what I am doing at the time. But in this case, I was happy with the final resulting image. Now, if I could only find those ladies to show them.