Reflections of a Lazy Photographer

From the Top

I was unsure about what to expect when I planned to attend Grandfather Mountain's Nature Photography Weekend. When I got to the registration table at 3, they simply told me to GO SHOOT! until the first program, which wouldn't take place until 8 or so. I decided to start my day at 'The Mile High Swinging Bridge', since it was located at the very top. From there, I would work my way back down to the museum where the presentations would be held.

Before I stepped foot out of the car, it was apparent that an unusual amount of people had tripods set up, and pointed in the same direction. There were the regular tourists visiting the mountain as well, but you could definitely tell who was there for the photography event. We also had these nifty little buttons that distinguished us between other visitors. I noticed early on that most people go off in their own direction to seek out that perfect shot, while very few shoot in groups. I eventually adopted a buddy for the weekend after my first day of shooting alone.

Rock Garden Diptych

Unbeknownst to me, the most important event of the weekend seemed to be the photography contest between the participants. I knew that there would be a friendly competition, but I didn't realize that it was a big deal. Early on, though, I determined that there would be some pretty stiff competition between this group of well-seasoned photographers. They only had room for 165 photographers, and from what they mentioned the weekend sold out in a matter of hours. I felt like I was among a pretty elite group of photographers who had many years of experience between them. They also had some enormous lenses, too, lenses that cost more than my car, probably. I'm not so sure that I could carry a 600mm lens, much less have money in my budget to purchase one! Haha

Even though programs/talks would be going on until Sunday, photographers only had until 3pm on Saturday to pick out their 3 photos to enter in any four categories. Regular visitors were out numbered by the laptop toting photographers in the restaurant as they scrutinized and selected their favorite shots. I attempted to be as discerning as possible when dwindling down my picks. At the time, I felt like I chose images that I thought would work best for the contest, and not the ones that were personal favorites. As you can see, I sometimes favor the fuzzy and soft while others would most likely scoff at the out-of-focus image. In their world, bokeh is not the brilliantly, bright circles of joy I consider the effect to be. No, they are seen as circles of confusion! Well, if hunting bokeh is wrong, I don't want to be right :D

Blue Hues
It's not that I can't produce, because I've beaten out higher odds with the annual Appalachian Mountain Photography competition, but I didn't feel as confident about this one as I do when I enter photos in that competition. Compared to what other photographers captured my images were far less spectacular, but I'm okay with that. I gained something much more valuable over the weekend than the recognition and award certificate passed out to the winners. I know, that's what losers say :D haha

The hard way, I learned that I have become a lazy photographer, and I really don't want to continue allowing that to happen. I'm capable of so much more. One thing I noticed was that I happened to be the only participant NOT carrying around a tripod, which is considered an essential to anyone who cares about shooting tack-sharp images, especially when I was using my 70-200mm lens. But, no, I didn't take my tripod out of the car once! Another crucial issue I came to realize was that I have grown very impatient when it comes to getting the best shot possible. I'm just not taking the time to compose a shot or search for a better image when I find something I think is worth capturing. There is definitely room for major growth that I plan to tackle immediately!

Wildflower Diptych

More than figuring out key areas I need to improve upon, I'm most grateful for this fresh (and much needed) dose of enthusiasm that was infused within me due to the inspiring photographers who presented and shared their mesmerizing work, as well as the stunning images captured by participants over the weekend. I hope that I can use this newfound excitement to get past this plateau and take my photography to new heights!


  1. Yeh, Grandfather Mountain -- what a place! Good for you for hanging in there; I would have been instantly repelled by the crowd of elitist photographers. Very nice shots -- wonderful control of DOF.

  2. several lines here hit home with me. i've gotten lazy too and i signed up for a class today just before reading the blog.

    I love your work.

  3. @Catharus: You know, I was somewhat put off by the rigidness of some people, but I did meet some nice folks in the end. And thanks!

    @Char: Yay! I bet it will give you the spark of inspiration you are needing. I'm already planning to attend another photography workshop soon! I feel the same way about your images, Char. :D

  4. I've been missing your update Jess, because I know I'll be stunned again everytime you share your pics. Great work!

  5. I love your work. I can't wait until next weekend to take in all the beauty.

  6. Competition isn't always what you want...sometimes it's better to do something because YOU love it...not trying to be the best, but I am lazy and tell myself that all the don't listen to me. I do love your photos, though!!!

  7. Ah, I partly grew up in that neck of the woods, it was wonderful to read this! Great photos as well. Just discovered your blog & loving it!

    (PS: It's okay to be lazy once in a while!)

  8. Feels like I was watching an episode for National Geographic! Good job on the photos and article.

    Keep us posted and come on our World Wide Travel Blog Party, bring your other blogger friends! See you! :)