“Why is patience so important?”
“Because it makes us pay attention.”
― Paulo Coelho
It feels like we are now on the home straight for this section of the project. Items are being ticked off. As Belinda excitedly tells me “that’s another beach finished!”, I look at her questioningly, “Really?, surely there’s more to do”. “No, on to the next one” – she replies. We’ve been on a roll lately, and it should feel less daunting, as we draw to an end at each location. But I feel slightly uncomfortable as the finish approaches. It could well be the realisation there will be no more opportunities to make improvements, no more waiting for better light or weather. Or are we a step closer to drawing the line and saying this is the final collection – they will be the best we have managed. And also perhaps just a tinge of sadness, as it will be the last time we see these places for a while.
We’ve been trying to sleep close to the locations we want to capture in the early morning. It has been a little challenge at times. On a good day, after watching sunset, then walking back to the van and unpacking, it could be midnight before we turn in. We need to rise again at 5.30am. The longest we’ve managed is 4 consecutive nights. Then we are forced to stay at a campsite due to complete battery discharge or Belinda’s intolerance to the smell of my feet (apparently).
We are now setting off on the road again, a little cleaner, with all batteries fully charged, files fully backed up, and contemplating the evenings outing. There’s one particular beach in the west of Asturias, that we’ve visited many times, more than any other. But the light has somehow eluded us here. We have plenty of pictures showing the main rock structure on the beach. But we needed another angle – something that would show a different impression.
In the end, we opted to explore an area usually cut-off by the sea, but at low tide access to a different and interesting seastack would be possible. But our hearts sank as we turned the corner to see the incoming tide had brought a halt to our pathway. There was no way of arriving at the base of the seastack and obtaining the picture we had planned. We tried other options, heading out over the rockpools trying to get a better view. We changed lenses from 12-24mm to a 50mm prime and even a 70-300mm – nothing was working.
We both began packing up the rucksacks to head back and call it a night. Engrossed in moaning about our luck, we looked back and realised we had walked passed the route back to the van. We were distracted and had almost reached the opposite end of the beach.
What to do now? We could go back empty handed or try something different. Well, as it happened, we very quickly stopped complaining, as by some miracle the atmosphere started to change, a thick band of cloud shifted higher, enough to allow the sunset to shine through. It was time to get moving.
Deliberately shying away from any shots we’d captured before, we decided to restrict ourselves to a certain area. For the next hour we rotated between 4 points, hedging our bets and hoping that at least one of the four would produce something.
As we headed back (for real this time) we thanked our lucky stars on the decision to stay, albeit partly a mistake. “Imagine if we’d left?” was muttered more than a few times.
It was reminder just how quickly things change and the importance of the right mindset and willingness to adapt. But that said, perhaps the most vital ingredient is to make sure you physically put yourself at the location. Just showing up isn’t everything but it counts for a lot. Nothing is achieved by sitting at home (or in our case the van), and let the best-laid plans go astray. There we were at the place we planned so extensively to visit, and were about to walk away – what were we thinking….