Do you ever wake up to the sound of an alarm clock, glance up at the edges of what are supposed to be the curtains blocking the window, looking for that tell-tale glow which will signify to your sleepy brain that the sky outside has begun to get lighter?

After a brief time staring into the dark you then realize that for some reason you had set your alarm clock much earlier this morning…. Maybe it was something important you have to do, like catch a flight, or be somewhere for a meeting.  Or maybe you are like me, and the alarm was set for an un-godly hour because the weather report showed a nice weather front pushing into the area over night, and there may be a chance for some dramatic skies and light!

Pre-Rain by Joe Azure.

San Francisco, CA 200mm, f/13, 0.6 sec, ISO 100

Waking up early for an entirely voluntary reason is not always easy. The temptation to press the snooze button a couple of times (or turn the alarm off) is strong most of the time. I am pretty sure that I am not the only one feels this way, nor am I the only one who looks at the sky towards the end of the day and decides that it is going to be too much trouble to pack up the car and go somewhere to shoot sunset. After all… we are all human.

One of the primary, and most important for me, things I have learned about photography is the importance of being there! We can sit at a computer and look at pictures of a location for hours (which I often do), and get a real good idea about what compositions are possible, or what weather is best, or what lenses you should use etc. But if we don’t actually get out there when the light is good, conditions are favorable, or some rare event is happening, we will never come back with anything more than average images.

For a photographer with a passion for landscape and nature photography, like myself, it also means being out there when maybe the light isn’t the best. I do not underestimate the importance of really trying to learn about the locations I shoot. My images get better and better as I do.

So next time that annoying alarm clock wakes you up well before the sun, or you feel like the 5:00 news is so important you can’t go out for a sunset, push a little little bit get out of the house!!!

Anyway – just a note I wanted to share with you all on The importance of being there.

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