Essay

You Just Never Know – or quite possibly the dumbest thing I ever said on a workshop…

You Just Never Know - or quite possibly the dumbest thing I ever said on a workshop...

After many years of photography, and a significant number of years teaching photography, I really should know better. I really should know one thing. In fact, I do know one thing, I just sorta forgot that one thing, and that one thing is  – that you just never know. You just never know about weather, wild animals and especially sunsets. You just have to show up.

Now, here comes the embarrassing confession part of this post. I have been on a lot of workshops with my good friend David Middleton. He is, in fact, well known to be a jinx on sunsets. The last time I was teaching with David and there was a really great sunset – he wasn’t there! Sadly for him, he was in the hospital, happily for the participants, the sunset was glorious. The more typical situation for a Brenda- David workshop, or a Jeff – David workshop, or a Rod – David workshop, or a David- David workshop, is that it looks promising and then suddenly the heavy marine layers arrives, or the off shore cloud bank swallows the sun and it is an official dud.

Yes, I realize as I type that this is a lame excuse, but the past has proven the trend, and it is the only excuse I have. Therefore, this past week, during a wonderful workshop in Tofino, up on Vancouver Island, I made a fatal mistake. I A S S U M E D the very dark sky, wind, rain and drear (not to mention David’s presence) meant no sunset.

In fact, this unbridled pessimism, generally unlike me, took over my brain, and even worse, my mouth – and I spoke aloud to a participant (you know who you are!) the following sentence:

” ..it’s going to stink.” (Ok, ok, I even mighta said “suck”.  I told you, this was not my finest hour)….” you might as well leave now and go have diner and a nice glass of wine…”

The part about the diner and wine was ok, but the “leave now it’s going to suck part was not”. Major photo lesson, not to mention major life lesson. You just gotta show up and see what happens. You never know. Really. The future is unwritten and if you decide ahead of time what the future holds, particularly if you decide, “it’s going to suck”, you may miss out on something spectacular.

Thank god Walt didn’t listen to me, David didn’t listen to me, I didn’t listen to me, and we all were treated to a spectacular sunset – and a very good life lesson. Mea culpa. Lesson learned, and ….ok, fine David, here is your pound of flesh, and your favorite sentence in the English language, “you were right”.

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Comments

  • Reply
    david
    May 31, 2013 at 10:03 am

    A simply brilliant post! Such insight! Such drama! And the last sentence…so well constructed, so thoughtfully construed, so, well, so perfect! You should write that last sentence more. It’s a real winner!

  • Reply
    Darin
    June 1, 2013 at 3:51 am

    Spectacular sunsets aside, this post and the curiously anonymous reply above, illustrate what you’ve all been missing if you haven’t attended a workshop with Brenda and David. The playful banter, repartee and warm & fuzzy sarcasm tossed about is absolutely priceless. The best way I can describe them is that they are truly, the Lucy and Desi of photography. So even if that beautiful sunset never materializes on your particular workshop, and yes it probably will be David’s fault, you’ll definitely be treated to the golden light of D & B’s teaching style. This alone, is worth the price of admission.

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