You Bring Your Good Time With You


I am just back from co-leading a tour to one of our most popular and favorite locations, the Palouse. We chose the week we did to photograph the amber waves of grain during the height of the harvest. Well, the weather in the Palouse has been unusually hot this year, the harvest was pretty much done by the time we arrived. During our meet and greet session, we always cover items like, stay hydrated, use sunscreen, be courteous, car pool, etc. This year we added a new rule, wisdom from Dan’s Mom, “you bring your good time with you.” I also added a concept I speak about often in my lectures, beware of expectations. With these two ideas firmly in place, we went about photographing the “harvest.” On a day where we had 106 degree heat, I did a processing session, before I started, I spoke to the group about how wonderful they were. How they truly had brought their good time with them and it showed. We were battling some difficult heat and hazy conditions, yet they were having a blast and making extraordinary images! No grumbling from anyone, in fact quite the opposite. So, next time you encounter conditions that are not optimal, beware of expectations and remember Dan’s Mom and her “you bring your good time with you” wisdom. I promise you’ll have a much better time.

Today’s image is from an abandoned grain elevator. I pay homage to Chuck Kimmerle on this one. Yes, I know I’ve broken a sacred rule of composition, do you care? Does it bother you? Obviously it does not bother me, I posted the image.

This entry was posted in Abstract, Chuck Kimmerle, Palouse and tagged , , .


  1. Jo August 20, 2015 at 8:05 am #

    I love this image, John, and I especially love the post. I believe this quote needs to be printed on t-shirts, water bottles, and tea cozies! It’s a life lesson. So glad you were all able to brave the elements and have a grand time.

    • JB August 20, 2015 at 9:38 am #

      Good idea Jo.

  2. Flint Sparks August 20, 2015 at 8:59 am #

    You are so wise to remind people to “beware of expectations.” Of course, it doesn’t stop them from arising, but we can hold them lightly and release them without adding too much slef-criticism or contraction. Thanks for another inspiring and encouraging post along with the lovely image.

    • JB August 20, 2015 at 9:38 am #

      Thank you Flint.

  3. Scott Oberle August 20, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    Well put JB. I am reminded of our trip to the Oregon Coast where the weather did not cooperate part of the time. You an Dan had us stop at a store and buy a bunch of flowers so we could all shoot indoors until the weather improved. Worked very well and was one of wife’s most enjoyable trips. Despite conditions, we were both able to get some memorable shots. As in most things in life, it’s all about attitude…

    • JB August 20, 2015 at 10:25 am #

      A good memory Scott!

  4. Paul Lebby August 20, 2015 at 10:25 am #

    As to the question about breaking the compositional rule, I don’t think this picture would work without breaking the rule, it is about the top half being in contrast to the bottom half, and that’s why it works. An I have a problem with the concept that you broke a rule… You didn’t break a rule as there are no hard and fast rules, only guidelines or suggestions…and the fact that you considered the dividing line and chose to place center frame is the most important lesson of composition… Not, “do I follow the rule or not?” But more, how would it look of I placed the division half way up the frame…”oh, I like that look!!!” And there you have it.

    • JB August 20, 2015 at 10:35 am #

      Excellent comment Paul. I’m counting on the fact that my readers know how I feel about “rules.” I like you prefer to call them guidelines. And I agree with you, ultimately you need to go with what FEELS right! Thanks Paul.

  5. Paul Lebby August 20, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    Oh and about bringing your good time with you, we all struggle at times to release our inner child and let the good times and positive energy flow… Sometimes it takes tour guides like you and Dan to help us release that energy… Now that is the magic you offer on your trips, the art then just flows from that positive energy.

  6. frank Chiles August 20, 2015 at 10:52 am #

    Had a great time with you this time. Great place to photograph but it had its challenges this year. Work around those challenges because life isn’t perfect and neither are we.
    Frank Chiles

    • JB August 20, 2015 at 10:55 am #

      Exactly Frank! Thanks for coming along with us.

  7. arty golin August 20, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    As always, great advice. For my two cents… First, there is one expectation that one should always have, which is to ALWAYS expect to find an image. If one is willing to (& here I struggle with what is the “correct” phrase) simply see with openness to recognize what’s being offered, EVERY scene has something.
    Second, regarding the composition… Yes, the line is in the middle of the image, but it is roughly 1/3 & 2/3 between the elements of the composition. Also, while not as distinct, the vertical line (from the center of the window), is also roughly 1/3 & 2/3 between the edges of the image. One rule broken, two not so much.

    • JB August 20, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

      True that Marty! Oh and no rules broken… I don’t believe in rules…. see Paul Lebby’s comment and my reply below. Thanks for playing along!

  8. Cynthia August 20, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

    106F!!!? Holy Moly! And I thought it was hot here. But then who would have thunk it. Santa Cruz hit 101F this past week while my house in San Jose was a cool 99.5F. I should complain. πŸ™‚

    But that brings a good point to expectations and photographing what you are given and in the conditions given. The conditions might be hard but that doesn’t mean pictures aren’t there. Like you always say, be open to what you are given and see what you found! Love it!

    And if we’re photographers, where are our rules?
    Rules? We ain’t got no rules! We don’t need no rules! We don’t have to show you no stinking rules!
    (with apologies to cinematic history!) πŸ™‚
    Love it John! Compositional rules are good but look at what you can do when you break them and go outside the box!

    • Paul Lebby August 20, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

      Now, let’s see who is young (no idea what you are taking about with the stinking rules reference), old (think the reference comes from Blazing Saddles 1974) or really old ( know the reference comes from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1927)…

      • Cynthia August 20, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

        You have it exactly right Paul! And even in Blazing Saddles it looks like Humphrey Bogart asking about the badges, a nod to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, I’m sure. πŸ™‚

        • Cynthia August 20, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

          Oops, I got my reply a little mixed up. Ignore that bit about Bogart in Blazing Saddles. I was watching youtube videos and saw that and misinterpreted it. Bad me! The quote take off is completely from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. I’ll get it right eventually. πŸ™‚

    • JB August 20, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

      Always appreciate your comments Cynthia. Yes, it was HOT!! Glad you got the movie reference straightened out!! πŸ™‚

      • Cynthia August 20, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

        Thank you John! And sometimes I am just old enough to be dangerous! At least with my movie references anyway. πŸ™‚

  9. Chuck Kimmerle August 20, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

    Rules = Limitations

    • Paul Lebby August 20, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

      Chuck is correct, but we all learn best when provided guidance in the form of limitations, and as we progress in the respective skill set, the need for the limitations diminishes, until we can function without such restraints on our abilities. It’s the same for any learned skill whether it be an artistic pursuit, medical diagnosis, computer programming, building widgets, or even teaching. I remember teaching brain sciences 25 years ago with written teaching plans, study guides, outlines, etc. I now go into the classroom and just teach and let the knowledge flow in a more interesting and creative way, and more educational for the students. Some structure is still required and thius some limitations are good, but only as a guide to organize thoughts or creative juices. Chuck, you see rules as limitations because you are a master, others see rules as critical components to guide them and welcome the limitations on their journey to becoming masters. Great thought provoking comment though.

  10. Mary Doherty August 20, 2015 at 8:02 pm #

    Great advice and image, John. Expectations can definitely set us up for disappointment if we’re not open to see the opportunities by being in the present…I think I’ll incorporate this as I start each day. I believe when we photograph what we love and love what we photograph, then that’s all that matters.

    • JB August 20, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

      Hello Mary! Indeed photographing what you love is all that matters! Thanks for visiting.

  11. Carla August 24, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    Love the image and the concepts in this post. I am currently on a wonderful vacation where I expected not to have the usual photography opportunities I prefer. The good time is primary, not what I go home with. There were several situations where I found images that were unexpected surprises and I have to thank Chuck Kimmerle for opening my eyes since these were not the beautful, awe inspiring landscapes I truly love!

    • JB August 24, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

      Yup, that Chuck is pretty great.

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