I recently spent a week paddling the Allagash River in Maine with a group of photographers and came back with very few photos that I love. From a photography perspective it was an opportunity to slow down and immerse oneself in the daily flow of the waterway activities. While it certainly made for a good plan, the hours spent paddling, setting up camp, cooking meals, tearing down camp, packing, more paddling and on and on consisted of how the majority of the hours away were allocated. There was most definitely good food, laughter and moments of awe as each day began and ended, but not the photography highlights that I dreamt of.
I began this trip as a seasoned photographer with high hopes and ended it as an experienced canoeist who can traverse difficult water conditions day after day and live the camp life with no whining, but rather a gratefulness that places such as the Allagash exist and can feed our souls. Will I do this canoe trip again? No, but I will be forever grateful that I did. From this experience I learned that I am most successful with my photography when I approach subjects and I am mindful of the objective which is to capture what I see and feel and not crowd that experience with other competing forces.The valuable photography lesson gained on this trip was that the essence of photography is best achieved when time is taken to observe and capture the feeling of what one sees in a compelling composition. It is more about seeing and less about doing.