I've got a simple question for you: is there a photo that you're chasing right now? An image that you're dying to get right? Your white whale (hooray “Moby Dick” references); something that you can see in your mind, you can picture it, almost feel how you want it to look. Whatever the genre, you know exactly what you're looking for in the mood, the vibe, and the scene. The chase and that drive can be something very useful to a photographer. It can inspire and motivate us to keep going, to keep improving, and keep working towards whatever image that we're chasing after.
Though I am a portrait photographer, the image I'm chasing is a landscape. A natural scene straight out of a fantasy world. For me, though the image may be simple, it's one that I have yet to perfect and the chase drives me onward. It's a mood and an emotion in a scene that I want to capture. My white whale is a foggy scene, a thick mist in the air, weaving its way through the pine trees. Gloomy, moody feelings abound. Maybe a bit cliché, but it's the shot that I want more than any other.
Don't get me wrong, I want to take amazing portraits too. I want to continue to improve, learn, and grow as a portrait photographer. I want to cultivate a body of work that I'm proud to stand behind and that carries my vision into the world. While that may all be true, my chase is for my foggy fantasy scene. It's an image I want for myself more than for anyone else. It's one I want to print for my own wall. All I know is that I haven't captured it yet and that when I do (if I ever do), I'll know it right away.
What are you chasing? What can you see in your mind that no one else can see? This is meant to be an exercise in inspiration and motivation. Try to identify within yourself what image, idea, or feeling can you use to inspire you to keep going. If you don't have one, see if you can create one. Ask yourself some serious questions and create the chase for yourself. If there was one image that you could take and know that it was perfect, what would it be? Maybe a portrait of a son or daughter, mother or father? Maybe the sunrise or sunset over a location that you've always dreamed of visiting? How about the precise moment that a bird dives from the sky, beak piercing the surface of the water? Let me know in the comments what your perfect image is. Maybe you've even captured it already. If so, is there another image that takes its place so that the chase can continue?