Thanks to apps like Instagram, there are some concepts that we've seen literally thousands of times, and at this point, they all blur into the same bland flavor. 2018 felt like the year of the lone person standing by waterfall, and seriously, we're sick of seeing that same shot over and over again.
We've all seen the shot before: it's a solitary individual often wearing a brightly colored coat or article of clothing composed standing alone near a waterfall, often walking towards it (where are you going?) or looking towards the sky with arms outstretched. We get it, you're out alone communing with nature in the hippest way possible. Is the waterfall itself not good enough without your Instagram-worthy solitude? When did something epic like a huge waterfall become the standard-issue background for everyone's standard-issue Instagram feature account?
I'll say it louder for the folks in the back: the waterfall is good enough without you in it. Nature can be beautiful, emotive, powerful, and epic. Nature is still worth sharing to your Facebook page and your Instagram without a person striking the same lone adventurer pose. Take the time to feel the waterfall, enjoy its beauty and its power. Be the lone traveler with a heart ready for adventure without being the cookie cutter photographer. I believe in you; you can get an epic image without a person in it.
A few things to mention in closing: first, read this with a grain of salt and a sense of humor. This piece is written from a place of good humor and commentary; don't let your underwear get in a bunch over it. Do I think that Instagram has trained people to shoot things for likes and follows over organic content? Yes, absolutely. I think we're being trained to take the status quo images instead of spending enough time to shoot the actual heartfelt image. Does that mean that you shouldn't take that shot if it's what you want? No, of course it doesn't, shoot the images that make you happy.
Never let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn't photograph (certainly, don't let me dictate what you feel); if the waterfall image is what you're craving, by all means take the shot, and don't give a second thought to what other people think. Think of this more as a plea to treat the waterfall as good enough: respect the experience of the hike you did to get there, and try to find an image that you didn't see on your phone first. Grand waterfalls have been here long before we were and will be here long after we're all gone; the waterfall doesn't need us to be beautiful.