The light rain is hitting the windshield as I travel up the Interstate at 4:45AM in the morning. I am thinking this is probably not the best day for a sunrise photography workshop on the beach. Of course this was planned far in advance with an out of town professional photographer so there was no turning back or rescheduling. I arrive at our meeting place bundled up for the breezy 43 degree weather. Not our typical day in Florida. Cold (by my standards), windy, and rainy. Photographing a sunrise this morning was not a very high probability. This was a day we were going to have to make our own weather and hope for the best.
Turns out our photo workshop instructor had the same idea. We all huddled under a picnic pavilion where he presented his guidance and instructions as if the sun was to be seen that day. Very informative, but practicing his tips and methods on a real sunrise were out of the question. . . at least on this day. We will have to find something else to photograph.
We were in Canaveral National Seashore, a place known all over the world for bird watching, wildlife, and photography. Our workshop was being conducted as an optional program within the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival being held in Titusville, Florida. So conventional wisdom suggested we find where the birds were and “shoot” some birds… so to speak. Now I have nothing against birds or wildlife. As a matter of fact, I love wildlife and the outdoors. However, I don’t have the high power lens or equipment for wildlife photography. So I thought I would tag along and watch anyway.
As I follow the group car caravan to birding country, I see the lights on the Max Brewer Bridge spanning the Intracoastal Waterway. A beautiful sight in this inclement weather. OK, no sun today but the darkness still falling on the bridge was perfect for a long exposure shot, relaxing the water. I thought to myself, sometimes it is really great when you have to make your own weather.
As the dreary day progressed, interesting moments and photo opportunities continued to present themselves. The dramatic cloud reflections on the still ponds along Black Point Wildlife Drive, the rare birds you seldom get to see, the eagle resting on her far off perch, and the beautiful cloud filled sky. None of these beautiful experiences would have happened for our workshop group if the weather had been the typical Florida weather. I am sure we would have experienced a beautiful sunrise, but the variety of photo opportunities was actually more fulfilling due to the bad weather.
As I drove home after the end of our workshop, I thought that I probably don’t move on often enough when life’s weather is not always bright and sunny. Like the ‘lousy’ day in the National Seashore, you sometimes have to make your own weather. No matter what the circumstances, there are always opportunities to learn and experience new things. It’s often in the lousy weather that you get to live those special moments you would not experience otherwise. In all kinds of weather, may the remarkable moments (and photos) be yours too.