November Newsletter: Waiting for the Conditions to Change in Photography

 In Workshops and Classes

October was a crazy busy month for me. I taught many one-on-one lessons and then went out east to Tennessee and North Carolina to teach my Great Smoky Mountains National Park Photography Workshop. I photographed the park for two week and really didn’t want to come home. For all you north shore lovers, I highly recommend you take a trip to the Smokies if you haven’t. We Midwesterners tend to look westward to get our mountain fixes, but the Appalachians are just a beautiful if not more beautiful than the western mountains. This month, I want to write about the importance in waiting in photography.

Waiting in Photography

I was recently interviewed about my photography and one of the questions suggested that making photos is more instant than other forms of artwork. For example, a photographer could seemingly show up a a scenic vista and snap a shot and go home. Whereas a painter might have to spend an hour or two there making a painting. The general public, because of the way they use their own cameras, tends to think that landscape photographers can just show up and get a good shot. They also tend to believe that if they had the same expensive camera gear they could do the same as well. Of course, it’s not like that.

Landscape photography is often more about waiting than anything else. While you can shoot good pictures in the middle of the day (especially if you know where to go), most of the best light occurs at dawn and dusk. So as a landscape photographer you often have to wait to the ends of the days to get the photos that you want. This is the most common type of waiting. Most photographers use the time to scout out other locations and then they wait until later in the day to start to photograph. This is the most common type of waiting in landscape photography. Other types of waiting includes waiting until the sun rises in the right location at the right time of year, waiting for the the right weather, waiting a full month between full moons, waiting for the right water levels on waterfall and waiting for the clouds to change or the sun to break through the clouds in exactly the right place.

Landscape photography is general more waiting than photographing. So, if you’re not getting the landscape shot you want, wait awhile. Spend that time thinking about how best to capture the scene and then wait until the conditions are exactly right to make the scene pop.

Here are three examples. Each taken about 10 minutes apart. The scene is about the same, but the feeling and look of each photo is much different. Had I just showed up and snapped the first shot instead of waiting, I would have never gotten the last with the splash and the sun.

Waiting in photography is hard, because we often feel like it’s a waste of time. But, next time you’re out photographing, maybe you need to wait around awhile and watch how the conditions change as the sun’s location changes. Once you understand this and practice waiting, your photography with get better.

2015 Calendar


My 2015 calendar featuring 12 months of northern goodness is available.


  • 11×17 inches
  • Sturdy cardstock
  • Spiral bound
  • 12 months
  • Images from the north shore of Lake Superior and nearby locations

Price: $21.99

Purchase your calendar at by clicking here.  NOTE: Always check to get see if there are any coupon codes available for Lulu. For example, today there’s a Buy 1, Get on 50% off by using code “PIC4U”. These codes come and go, so it might not be usable when you try.

2015 Photography Workshops

Most of my 2015 Photography Workshops are now open up to the public for registration. If you were on a waiting list or preregistered, you need to get the deposit paid now or you stand to lose your space. Here are the workshop dates.

2015 Workshop Dates

Select October Images

Here are a few select October Images. I’ll send out a separate Smoky Mountains portfolio in a week or so.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment


Start typing and press Enter to search

grand marais lighthouse covered in icesunrise in the Badlands