“You Should Have Been Here Yesterday"

I cannot begin to count the times when, arriving at a location to take some pictures, I was met with a “you should have been here yesterday,” meaning my intended subject looked better the day before. In the Lake District in Central Chile, a lady commented that the day before there was a beautiful rainbow over the volcano I was about to photograph. In Old San Juan, a hotel attendant mentioned that the day before there was a parade of reenactors dressed in 17th Century military uniforms. In Scotland, a convenience store clerk lamented that I had just missed the beautiful weather they had been experiencing (it rained almost the entire time I was in Scotland).

Fortunately there are always good pictures to be had regardless of what happened yesterday, and being undeterred by these comments is part of being a travel photographer. In Chile, I hired a small airplane and took aerial pictures of the volcano; in Old San Juan, I tracked down the military reenactors and photographed them in front of the El Morro Castle; and in Scotland, I got some very cool twilight shots of Edinburgh in the rain. I was pleased both by my efforts and my results in each of these occasions, and did not regret missing whatever happened the day before.

 Military reenactors wearing ca. late 1700s uniforms, San Felipe del Morro Castle (1540s-1786), San Juan National Historic Site, Old San Juan, PR

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” What he should have added is that this approach can often yield better results than having been there yesterday.

Now get out and shoot something.