COMPROMISES - Photography, just as the rest of life, involves compromises. For example, I clearly know that one of the best things that I could do to improve my landscape photographs is to always use a tripod. But the fact of the matter is, I generally don't. Most of my photography in the field is not a stand alone activity; it is not only about capturing good photographs. When I am home, my photography is a part of my daily walk in the forest. Hauling a tripod along is too burdensome. Furthermore, I like the flexibility of shooting handheld. When I go into the forest, it is a walking meditation; it is an integral part of my spiritual life. Having a camera along does help me to slow down and to be present to where I am. More than that; often I feel drawn through the lens into a mystical connection with what is in front of me. Very much a part of this is that I have had a lifelong love affair with the natural world. As in all serious love affairs, ones focus always is the beloved. And to be a good lover you need to be present; you need to pay attention. You need to listen and respond to the deepest dimensions of the beloved. I find that the camera helps me to be a better lover. Although I am passionate about photography, it is not the primary object of my passion. The object of my passion is the deepening of my human and spiritual journey. In a similar way, when Ellie walks with me, she always is more important than photography. When I walk with her, I often don't even take a camera (actually, that's about the only time that I don't take a camera).
Do I sometimes use a tripod? Absolutely. I always use a tripod when I take photography workshops. There, the focus throughout is the photograph. I also always use a tripod whenever I want a slow shutter speed. I use one for most of my macro work. The same holds for whenever I use Live View (especially for focus stacking as well as long exposures). Would I recommend that other photographers always use a tripod? Yep!
My point is: we all make compromises. We would do well to be
conscious of the compromises that we make, and intentional about them.