Don’t Be Distracted

Spring Leaves on Black Branches Washington, D.C., 2015

Spring Leaves on Black Branches
Washington, D.C., 2015

Want to know where this image was photographed?

It was photographed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  Just outside the front entrance of the National Gallery of Art.  With a nice view of the U.S. Capitol building a few blocks to the left, and the Washington Monument a little further down the Mall on the right, and any number of iconic monuments and views within easy walking distance in just about any direction.

You wouldn’t know that from looking at the image, would you?  I imagine the information in the image is sufficiently non-specific that it really could have been photographed just anywhere.

Truth be told, I was out with my camera that day with the intention of photographing those very monuments and views I just mentioned.  I was, in fact, on my way down the Mall to photograph the Washington Monument in the composition that I ended up using in the image from my previous post.

However, first I became distracted by some really interesting twisted-up trees lining the wall of the National Gallery.  I probably spent an hour making a slow circuit of the building, setting up my little travel tripod to photograph each of those trees in sequence (I haven’t posted any of those images yet, but they came out quite well and I hope to post them in the near future).

When I finished that up, I began to make my way toward the Washington Monument, but I became distracted by the composition made by the branches and leaves of this tree.  I studied it out for few minutes and was torn by indecision, because I already was late in getting to my intended destination at the monument before the afternoon light faded away into evening.  But, my inner voice was telling me there possibly was a good photograph here, so I (almost reluctantly) again set up my little travel tripod to make a few captures of this tree.

By the time that was done, I made my way down to the Washington Monument and, as expected, the light was pretty well gone by the time I arrived there.  I basically missed my opportunity for the photograph of the monument I wanted, but fortunately I was able to return the next day to pull it off.

If  you’ve read the title of this post, you might think my point is that having been distracted by the first set of trees at the National Gallery and then the second tree that is in the image of this post cost me the photograph I was after of the Washington Monument.

That’s actually not my point at all, it’s just the other way around.

If I had been too focused on getting to the Washington Monument, or had been distracted by all of those monuments and views I had come to photograph, I would have missed what I think turned out to be good images of this tree and those others I mentioned earlier.  You might say I was distracted from my intended goal by the photographs that I ended up pursuing, but I prefer to think I avoided the distraction of the photographs I had intended to pursue in order to obtain these that I actually saw.

In my experience, it’s usually not the photographs you intend to take that end up being the good ones, but rather the ones you actually see that you weren’t expecting and have the willpower to follow through on.

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