I was out driving around the coast today, as usual, and I saw some pretty amazing wildlife. When I'm driving, I don't stop a lot to take photos because it kills the vibe a little to pull over, but I had my camera today and I ended up shooting a bunch. I was using my 70 mm lense which made it possible to take closer photos of the animals that I saw. There were some birds, some really neat vultures too, but what I'm psyched about is the coyote that I saw. It was on the side of the road as I was driving past and I pulled over a little ways down the road and started taking pictures from out of my window. The coyote walked into the middle of the street which made a great background and added perspective to the photos. While I was there, another car pulled over on the other side of the road to take pictures with a tripod. I love how many people I see around the Bay Area taking photos because it feels like a club, like I'm part of the photographers of Marin or something. There I was, on a coastal road without many other cars around, and me and a fellow photographer came to the same location to photograph the same coyote just across the street from each other.
The Bay Area is definitely a travel destination for photographers, which makes me feel lucky to already live here. Still, I'm sure that most successful photographers don't just take photos of the area around their house. I can go to the city or around the coast, but after a while I want to change it up with different subjects and diverse landscapes. Most of my best photographs have come from traveling, and maybe that's just because traveling permits me to look at everything with fresh eyes. In Lebanon, everything was new to me; the architecture, the landscape, the people and their culture were all so different than anything that I'd encountered before. I was so intrigued by everything I saw that I took photos of everything, which ended up giving me a lot more opportunities to work on my photography and improve. Even people who might've seemed normal to the locals seemed incredibly interesting to me in a way that I find harder to feel about people at home.
My trip to Wyoming and Utah had the same inspiring effect on my photography. There were so many open landscapes, which are vastly different from the mountainous coastal region I live in, and I wanted to capture how each moment felt to me. The feeling that I wanted to capture was that it was just me and the world, with no civilization in sight, and every breath I took was me breathing in the enormity of it all.
That's how I want photography to be for me- an emotional experience rather than a random hobby. It's not exactly hard to become immersed in nature here, but I want to be able to change up my routine and travel alone. I'm not exactly hopeful that I will be able to, though, because, well, I'm sixteen and travel is a little more complicated when you're not an adult. In theory it shouldn't be that difficult; I can drive, I have money from work to stay places, and I know people in some other parts around the country that I could visit. In reality, however, I have parents who worry about me and I'm part of a society that doesn't particularly trust teenagers unaccompanied by adults in general.
I'm running the risk of sounding like the most cliche teen ever but I can take care of myself. Please don't call me naive for saying that. I'm not saying that I won't ever run into a situation that I need help with, or that there aren't people and problems that I might be unprepared for, but who the hell is prepared for everything in life? Certainly the adults around me aren't, and while experience is definitely a big determining factor in situational competence, it's necessary to gain that experience through encountering unfamiliar situations and figuring out how to deal with them on your own. I want to take photos, not run off and join the circus. The definition of maturity that I agree with the most is being able to know your own limits. By accepting that I'm too young to travel on my own, which I believe to be untrue, then I'm not trusting my maturity to know my own limits. Instead I let society determine what I am and am not ready for, which in itself is an example of immaturity. Conversely, if I assert my competence, then I'm viewed as even less mature because if my opinion of my limits differs from that of the people around me then I must be wrong. Teenagers are screwed if they do and they're screwed if they don't. Catch 22.
But before I go down that rabbit hole (which I really could say a lot about), I'll end this post by saying that there is a difference between being naive about your own limits and knowing yourself enough to understand that pushing them is in your best interest.