Saturday, November 12, 2016

Patience, or my lack of it

Scott Bourne wrote a great article about patience in photography, especially with outdoor photography. He wrote that "sometimes you just have to wait for the weather to play ball."

It's great advice. I just wish I had patience.

If you've ever been out to photograph a sunrise or sunset, you'll know that conditions change rapidly. One minute's golden glory turns quickly into a fairly boring morning sky. You have to act quickly... but you have to have the patience to wait for the right moment.

Waiting for the Sun

Back in the summer of 2014 I was heavy into my Manitoba grain elevator project. In August 2014 I was on a two-day trip to photograph every elevator in the southeastern corner of Manitoba. I was on a timetable (planned in detail in Excel), with about 15 minutes allocated to photograph each elevator. Patience was not factored in!

I was at Nesbitt to photograph the former Manitoba Pool grain elevator outside town. The day was partly cloudy and the sun was not out when I arrived, which led to this rather bland photograph.
OK, I guess
I mean, it's all right, but it was nothing special.

I could see that the sun was going to come out, so I cooled my heels for a few minutes, driving around impatiently looking at different angles and waiting for the sun. After about 10 minutes the sun did come out and man, it made a difference.
This one, I like
If I hadn't waited, I would have had to live with a so-so photo. I know I may never see some of these elevators again and I tried pretty hard to capture good photos of each one. Sometimes that wasn't possible, but often with a little patience, and willingness to consider other angles, I was able to capture the elevator properly.

Waiting on a Train

Promises, promises
We've all been there... waiting for literally hours for a train to come. When I lived in Fredericton, New Brunswick, I would go up to McGivney to wait for trains on the CN mainline there.

The signals might show green but they were no promise of an imminent train. It could literally be more than an hour after a green signal appeared for a train to appear... if not longer.

Long-time readers may remember my disappointment at McGivney back in 2008 when my son and I were waiting for a VIA Ocean detour. He was as patient as I could ask for but we left... just before the train came through.

I'm fortunate in Winnipeg that there are a lot of trains around, and if you're willing to move around, you can find one or two. Still, there are times when I hunt for an hour or two and really come up with very little.

Patience... Not One of My Virtues

Spooky CN signals
If you've ever railfanned with me, you'll know I don't sit still for long. I am not one of those who sits in one spot for hours on end. I wish I could, honestly, but I get bored.

Fortunately, I can force myself to stay in one spot if I need to. I went out on the night of October 30th to do some night photography, because I had carved a big "CN" in my pumpkin and wanted to photograph it by the tracks.

I went down to Lorette on the CN Sprague subdivision and set it up by the signals... the green signals. I took a series of photographs, some of which turned out and some did not.

I knew a train was coming... eventually. I kept pacing back and forth, looking down the track and checking the time. I'm not very patient! Eventually I saw a headlight in the distance from Winnipeg. That's a 7 mile stretch of straight track.

I waited... and waited... and waited... that train seemed to take a long time to travel that 7 miles.

My "patience" paid off with this shot of the CN intermodal train rolling past.
Streaking at night
I hope the CN crew saw my pumpkin!

Patience Pays Off

There are definitely benefits to being more patient. This article lists a few, including lowering your stress levels and helping you make better decisions.

In some cases, patience is absolutely critical to meeting your goals.

For example, a lot of people want to lose weight but they aren't patient about it, which leads to the many "lose weight fast" fad diets that don't work. It takes a lot of time to lose weight and you can't rush it.

I've been working to lose weight since the beginning of this year. It's taken many months but I've lost the 25 pounds I wanted to lose to get to a healthy weight.

In this case, patience has paid off for me.

Did you know there are exercises to train your patience?

How's Your Patience?

It's your turn - how patient are you? Leave a comment!

Further reading:


Unknown said...

I know I've had cases where I was railfanning on the CP Carberry Subdivision, and it took literally hours for the next train to come. It takes a lot of patience to railfan CP these days, and I don't have a lot of it either.

DaveM said...

Hi Steve,

I too share your lack of patience of sitting waiting. I can usually pass about 5 to 10 minutes scouting out the site and trying to find the best location / camera settings / a few test shots. But after that, it takes alot of will power to stay.


Canadian Train Geek said...

Hey Taylor, I have no patience for waiting on the CP, that's for sure! It explains why most of my photos are CN as A) I live closer to the CN main line, and B) CN runs many more trains!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Agreed, DaveM - you can only scout for so long. Some people bring magazines.

Unknown said...

According to my YouTube playlists, I have 293 videos with CN in it, and 131 videos with CP in it. Yesterday I caught 4 CP trains on the Keewatin Subdivision though.

Unknown said...

They came in a 4 hour period.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Taylor, 4 trains in 4 hours on CP is doing very well. I caught one there this morning out at Cooks Creek but it was just luck as I wasn't sitting there waiting.