Most people, to the best of my knowledge, prefer to go to the beach during the summer. Yet, somehow, I found myself at Brighton Beach on a cold, wintry morning last month. What’s worse, I was there while it was still dark out. I was there to capture the sunrise, so, of course, I had to get there at an hour when most others are huddled under their blankets in their heated homes.
It’s often been said that half the battle is won by simply showing up, and in photography, that’s no different. Half the battle of making a photograph is simply showing up and putting yourself in the position to be able to take the shot. Sometimes that means getting up at some miserable hour of the night to drive several hours to get to a site before sunrise and the golden hour. Sometimes it means hiking a distance you’d rather you didn’t have to. Sometimes it means just putting in the hard work to make sure all the elements of a shoot at home are in place and ready to go.
I’m not going to tell you that great shots can’t be had by happenstance and without preparation. We all have an example of a “lucky shot” that we got simply by accident. But those are few and far between, and you cannot count on chance to provide you with great shot opportunities on a regular basis. To rise above, to be able to take better shots on a consistent basis, you have to put in the work and plan towards those shots.
As for my beach shoot — well, I worked towards it, planned it and did what I had to do to get the best shots possible. How’d it turn out? Well… you tell me. Here’s what I shot that cold, January morning at Brighton Beach: