Disappointment is unfortunately a large part of landscape photography. You can spend weeks and miles in search of a great shot and come up empty. Thankfully in my case I am not fully invested in the craft yet, so I have mostly only lost time and energy, not so much money.
However when it comes to disappointment, I do not cope very well. I can be a big baby. But a phrase comes to mind: build a bridge and get over it. I digress, that is not a phrase that I would use in any serious function as it's pretty bad counseling.
Disappointment, as in photography, is a part of life as well. In the Bible, Paul alludes to having found the secret however in dealing with not only hardships, but also good times.
Philippians 4:12 NASB: "I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need."
My photographic journey last night began well. While I didn't get a shot here, I enjoyed the few moments of solitude and the photographic process.
Well, the question for Paul would be: "What's the secret?"
Philippians 4:13 NASB: "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
This verse, a life verse for many, has been terribly misused in modern Christianity. Apparently many would seem to argue that Paul is talking about sports or business here, as if God is some kind of genie that gives us power to do whatever WE want without regard to His will.
I think that thinking cheapens the verse, and what I believe Paul is really addressing. As always, we ought to look at context. Paul, who by the way was in prison writing this, (not sure modern thinking of vs 4:13 would fit with that) learned to be content in any situation as we read in verses 10-12. In no way was he being ungrateful to the Philippians for giving a gift to support him, but he merely is mentioning that, through Christ, he knows he can be content in all situations, I believe at least in part, because ultimately his contentment comes from Christ. Whoa, talk about a smack in my own face as I write this. Paul, who was once against the very Savior Who saved him, found redemption, forgiveness, and grace in Jesus, the King of kings, so some disappointment and hardship here and there, well big whoop.
I may have been on to something here, but I didn't have any waders to actually go into the water. Perhaps
I will return...
This doesn't stop us from having a pity party though, and it certainly does not prevent disappointment from occurring. Again, thankfully we have scripture to look to. Elijah was a man that faced major discouragement. So much so that he wanted God to kill him. I love this story in the Bible, as I think it shows not only how we can be, but how loving God is. While some may argue, I don't believe that He told Elijah to 'build a bridge and get over it', more that He simply told Elijah, you have a job to do, I'm giving you help and a successor, and you're not alone, almost as if He just let Elijah do his complaining, and then set him straight with the facts. Truth really does affect our thinking. If you want to read the story it is in 1 Kings 19.
So what in the world does this have to do with photography? Well, I guess I threw a pity party of my own yesterday as I took a long walk back a long skyline drive to the parking area, wondering what in the world those 6 or so miles on tough terrain, and no good photographs to show for it, could possibly do to glorify God, something that I wanted to specifically do this go around. When I get like that I find it hard to keep going with photography, wondering if this is really the career choice I want to take. The pay stinks (well nonexistent is a word, too). The hours are more centered around when normal people sleep or eat. And well, I'm way out of shape (Honestly, that's my biggest issue, and yes I know the sodas aren't helping)! I know it sounds as if I'm complaining (I was, but not now, just hearkening back to yesterday). But at the end of the day whether this is the path I'm to be on or not, I so want to remember and think on the God Who loves me and saved me. I know I can do everything through Christ.
The best photo of the day, and the reason for the title. Again, one place I may return to, though my out of shape body dreads the thought. It's not a BAD photo, but it's definitely not what I'd call good.
Maybe you're reading this and you are thinking this guys nuts. You'd be right for the most part, but I'd ask you to check out my home page and read 'about me'. It takes a couple minutes and it's worth it (not that I'm anything, I just mean some of what's in there).
So where to from here? Well I guess in photographic terms, I just need to keep going, and stop expecting every trip to come away with a decent photo, a resounding 'duh'! Rest in the process, but mostly in the love of Christ. And in areas in your own life that maybe you're struggling to continue, look to the example of Paul, and even more, of Christ.
I know this article doesn't cover the depth and reality of true difficulty and hardship, and I do not intend to cover such things in great detail within this writing. There are many people truly hurting and going through very real and very hard times, and I am not comparing my trivial complaints to those. For those that are dealing with such things, please look to the promises of God, possibly seek good Biblical counseling, and know in spite of whatever challenges you face, He loves you so deeply. What I am saying I suppose, hopefully without sounding trite, is a very real truth: God doesn't promise a disappointment free life. But for those of His own, He does promise to be with them always.
A view from Stony Man Mountain a little bit ago.
by: Jeremey Voit
Jeremey is a photographer based in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. He loves travel, nature, and experiencing and sharing the beauty of God's creation.