Dedication to the Shot

By Jon Hillenbrand In Photography, Stories

You’ll learn. You’ll see that there’s something outside of yourself that you use to get what you need to get. It’s not something that you HAVE to do, it’s something you choose to do. And it might be a struggle. It’s certainly a pain in the ass sometimes. But in your more honest moments, you’ll remember when it was easier to fail than try to succeed.

The above photo is a good example of this. April doesn’t lend itself to preparations for snowy weather unless you live in the Yukon or Alaska. And maybe those places have good weathermen who actually try at their jobs. But here in Chicago, where the weathermen don’t say that all that snow is coming near you, you have to be ready to make some difficult choices.

For this shot, I was already done with my other photo shoot, the one I was getting paid to do. And after soaking both shoes in the parking lot with icewater and nearly falling several times with my unreasonable footwear, I saw that my car was completely covered in snow. I knew it would be a good photo, but I put the camera in the back and got in the car to leave anyway. But then I stopped. Something inside of me knew that there was an opportunity for a unique shot of snow in April. So I drove to the middle of the lot, got out and took some shots. They were OK. But off in the distance, I could see a wide open field. An open area which would help separate the car from the background. I considered leaving. I was cold, and every SECOND that I stayed outside, I was getting progressively more and more soaked with the wet slushy snow. But I knew I had to get this photo. So I got in, reparked the car further away from the crowd and near the frozen golf courses. I got out, stepped away and took a sighting. I was far too close for a 105mm Macro lens. I knew I’d have to slog through at least another 50 feet of ankle deep slushy water to get the shot. And I knew that my camera and lens were getting wet, even though I was trying to protect them. But there was a shot there somewhere if I was willing to create it. I ran another 50 feet and got low. I squeezed another few shots, moved around, took some more and then, and only then, when I knew I had some shots and options to work with, did I sprint back to the relative warmth of the car.

This isn’t combat photography, but people involved in those situations are also making decisions like this. It’s a relative comfort level decision. Will I be static and comfortable? Or will I potentially wreak my life in one way or another for the higher purpose I believe in? Will I sacrifice for the good of something outside of myself?

In this case, yes. For I’ve seen the opportunities go swooping by, in and out of your life like a bird across an open barn door. I’ll always love what I do, and I’ll always regret the opportunities I’ve not captured and made my own. There’s a heart waiting to be won, a tear waiting to be expressed, and an inspiration waiting to be handed over to someone else. I want to be the person to do that. I want to be the kind of person who sees the opportunity and goes for it. I’ve missed so many already. But in the end, I’ll live with love lost, rather than love never known. For my existence depends on it.

  1. crysOakleee May 4, 2007

    Your profile pic looks like a toilet paper roll holder. How outre.

  2. Jon Hillenbrand May 13, 2007

    That’s actually what it is. 🙂 I don’t know if that means something. I think I just like the pic.


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