No Expectations / by David Veldman

I missed most of October. I was away with my day job, and it unfortunately caused me to miss the best of Autumn. And what a great Autumn it was. Beautiful colours, great temperatures - I'm still a bit sore about missing out. 

I also didn't get to pick up my camera for almost three weeks. So I felt a little rusty when I went out today under a flat grey sky. 

I was walking through a lovely nearby forest, mentally cursing the non cooperative weather. Flat grey skies make for boring shots. On top of that, there was a continuous small mist raining down on my camera and I. My shoes quickly became covered in mud, and I felt more than a little discouraged. 

Then I realized something, a revelation that I hope remains fresh in my mind. I should enjoy nature for its own intrinsic value - not just for photographic opportunities. I have been hiking and enjoying nature much longer than I have been taking pictures. Recently however, I had fallen into a trap where I only enjoyed myself if I was taking what I considered 'good' pictures. It was a surprising moment of clarity. I mentally unpacked my expectations and continued my walk, feeling significantly more calm.

 

Incredibly, it was after this realization that I spotted these three rotting stumps protruding from the water. I felt so relaxed as I sized them up. Getting to a vantage point was no easy task. I had to walk out along a felled tree using a long stick for support, then hold myself steady and shoot one handed. When I took the shot, I knew right away that I was going to like it, and I do. 

Later, as I walked back to my car, I caught this dragonfly in its death throes. The temperature has dropped dramatically, and the circle of life is ending for most insects.

 

I drove home to pick up my wife feeling almost oddly satisfied. The weather had been rough, and I hadn't captured anything 'great'. But I had enjoyed my communion with nature, and realized an important truth: it's important to not let the camera come between us and our experiences.