Sunday Photo Art Quote – Thomas Jefferson

I’ve seen this quote attributed to Tom although I’m certain it belongs to him as there are variations in place attributed to others. I try to research my quotes for accuracy. With that in mind if you know who the originator of this quote was, please let me know.

thomas jefferson quote“I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”  – Thomas Jefferson

You might ask, “What in the heck does this have to do with art, Bob?”

It all has to do with getting in there and doing the work. Whether you feel like doing it or not. Many times I will happen into a fortunate art situation just because I keep on trying even though things have not worked out crazy good in the past. If you see a concept, you need to keep acting on it until it comes to fruition.

Here’s an example. I love photographing wildlife, especially birds. I enjoy the texture of their wings. Studying and anticipating their movements to capture more compelling images. The time alone searching out new behaviors. It can be very frustrating to try to come up with something original. That doesn’t stop me from going out and trying. Over and over. And over. Until that magic moment when the luck part comes into play. Because I was still there trying I was treated to this perfect moment of a Snowy Egret chasing fish.

I captured approximately 200 images of the bird working the shallows in front of me. And this is the composite I thought I wanted to accomplish.

snowy egret composite by bob coates photographyWorking composite of Dance of the Snowy Egret

I had sifted through and extracted many images of the snowy egret to get this far but wasn’t happy with what was happening. It was the vision I originally had in my head while I was photographing the bird, but it just wasn’t working form, although my wife loved it. So I kept working.

So I kept working. And working.

And because I kept working on it even though I wasn’t happy I had another stroke of luck. In turning off the background to clean up my extractions of the birds, I saw the image in it’s simplest form. All attention became focused on the positions of the birds with absolutely no distractions.

dance of the snowy egret © bob coates photographyPPA Loan Collection Image – Dance of the Snowy Egret by yours truly

I entered the image in the International Photographic Competition from Professional Photographers of America, and it was judged into the Loan Collection in the Master Artist category. That judging is based on twelve elements (click here for more on the twelve) including composition, technical excellence, and storytelling. Also, how the artwork was accomplished is a significant part of the criteria which is why the reference images are shown.

I feel I was lucky on two fronts in the creation of this photo. But I did work hard to get ultimately get there

But I did work hard to get ultimately get there.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

PS – I think one additional piece of luck was the equipment I’ve been using. Because the micro 4/3rds format is so small and light I was able to handhold a 600mm equivalent lens and track the egret comfortably for a long period of time. Heavier gear would have required a tripod and been much less mobile. Lumix GX8 with the 100-300mm f4.0-5.6 lens