I had a dream the other night, and it’s unusual that I remember any of my dreams. What’s also notable is that this is the first one I can recall that was related to photography.
It started with me showing up very early in the morning at an elementary school. My assignment was to get a group portrait of a class for the students and teacher winning an award or some other recognition. I was told by someone, possibly the principal, that the teacher and class weren’t ready yet, and I was asked to wait in an empty classroom until they were.
I remember looking out the window and seeing a golden sunrise and remember thinking that I could use that beautiful light for the shot. I waited and waited, periodically looking out the window to see the sun rise slowly in the sky. The principal came into the room and said that they weren’t quite ready yet and asked me to wait some more. Normally I’d be anxiously thinking about other assignments I had to get to or deadlines I push up against, but strangely enough I was perfectly calm.
Before I knew it, it was midday. The harsh overhead sun would make for poor light, but I had brought a lot of lighting equipment with me. There were portable studio strobes, light stands, umbrella reflectors, softboxes and more, all in their own case or carrying bag. The waiting continued, so I decided to more efficiently pack my gear.
Soon it was late afternoon, and the light was improving again. The low angle of the sun and its warm glow is as desirable as the early-morning light and is what photographers look for. The principal came in and said still no luck, and I continued to pack and repack my equipment. Each time I would I was able to consolidate more and more of the gear.
Finally I got everything to fit into one portable bag. I was quite proud of myself, because it was efficiently packed and incredibly lightweight. I know in reality it all would have weighed a ton and would be impossible to carry, but it was my dream, after all, and I could bend the laws of physics to my will. Then it was in the evening. I looked out the window and saw that the sun was setting and the “blue hour” was about to begin.
I walked out with my camera bag over one shoulder and the lighting equipment in a handy carrying sling bag over the other. With the sun flaring at the horizon line and a deep blue sky for a background, I set up the stands and strobes and waited for the class to arrive.
I awoke from the dream and scratched my head trying to figure out what it was all about. Was it a lesson in patience? Could it have been about waiting for the right time of day and the best light? Maybe it was about being efficient. It’s possible that it was about all three. I’m just glad it was a dream and not a nightmare.