Over the years I have taken many photographs that in my opinion have been rewarding. This one of Talacre Lighthouse is on my lounge wall in extra-large size 120 x 80 cm (47” x 31” approx). Admittedly it breaks the Rool of Thurds, but I like it and that’s the important thing.
However this is not really my Reward photograph. The one below, a sunset taken on Frith Beach, Prestatyn, probably qualifies more as one I would reward myself for. Mainly because I spent some time waiting for the sunset to happen.
In order to obtain pictures by means of the hand camera it is well to choose your subject, regardless of figures, and carefully study the lines and lighting. After having determined upon these watch the passing figures and await the moment in which everything is in balance; that is, satisfied your eye. This often means hours of patient waiting. My picture, “Fifth Avenue, Winter” is the result of a three hours’ stand during a fierce snow-storm on February 22nd 1893, awaiting the proper moment. My patience was duly rewarded. Of course, the result contained an element of chance, as I might have stood there for hours without succeeding in getting the desired pictures. – Alfred Stieglitz – “The Hand Camera” (1897)
I know I have shown you this photograph before but here’s the background behind it. Standing on a cold wind-swept beach on the 25 November 2014 I was waiting for the sunset. The cloud formation and the way the sun was dipping down behind the mountains seemed to suggest that it might be a really good one. But like all weather events you can never really tell what you are going to get until it happens. Previously I’ve seen what looked like an amazing sunset only for it to fizzle out in seconds, never delivering the promised light show. I’m sure you’ve been in that situation as well, waiting for something to happen and then facing disappointment when it doesn’t?
Meanwhile I was getting colder and colder. November on our wind-swept beaches is not a comfortable position to be in, trust me, I’ve done it often enough. Sure I was equipped to be out there but on the exposed beach it’s amazing how you can get cold really fast, especially if you are not moving around too much.
After an hour on the beach it was looking like maybe I had got this one wrong. The sun had almost dipped behind the mountains and there was only a small red band of colour running along the horizon. Not much of a sunset at all. Time to pack up and go home.
But then it suddenly changed, the lower part of the sky nearest the horizon started to glow red and purple, then those cloud formations started to pick up the colour. I just knew then that this one was going to be a cracker. OK! I was cold but there was absolutely no way I was leaving the beach until I had captured every aspect of this sunset. Best of all I had the beach to myself, no one there, perfect. I was right, as you can see, As an aside I haven’t seen a sunset like this since I was on the Falkland Islands, and that was a long time ago. This sunset lasted a good twenty minutes before the sky finally lost most if it’s colour and all that red disappeared. That’s why I class this one as one of the most rewarding photographs I’ve taken in a while.