Knolan Benfield, my uncle and professional photographer, and I took a few days to do what we love to do—photograph wildlife in Cades Cove.
“It is great to take time like this to put all those years of honing your craft to make a living and then spend some time shooting for yourself like this,” Knolan commented just before we finished our time in the Great Smoky National Park this past week.
When I first picked up the camera I shot for myself and it was a lot of fun. I then pursued this as a career. Over the years I knew I could do a better job, so I continued to go the workshops, seminars, read books and did a lot of self assignment tests to sharpen my skills.
It had been a while since I spent time photographing nature like this—back when all I shot was film. I would shoot and then look at the back of the camera, evaluating the image. I would pull up the histogram and look to see if it could be improved. We played with different white balance settings to see the outcomes of our efforts.
We just had fun.
Only another photographer would put up with all of our long shoots with 1 deer and a tripod. Most of our friends would think “haven’t you got enough already?”
What I noticed the most was the memories in my mind of conversations, bears we saw that turned and went in the woods before we could get our camera up and funny moments rejuvenate the soul.
I hope I do not take as long between this adventure and the next time I just shoot for myself.