When….ahhh when. When is the best time to get your pictures taken up here in the rolling prairies of Sioux Falls, South Dakota?
Well, to put it bluntly, Winter up on the plains is brutal and long. It’s the kind of cold that you feel to the very marrow of your bones, and after those days grow shorter and the sun comes out only rarely for a game of peekaboo, that cold starts to creep into your very soul. Don’t even get me started on the wind.
But should that stop us?
Granted, we all turn into bears around here. We hibernate with the best of them, heck some of us even get so crabby we even act like them, and stepping out into the icebox we call home might not be for the faint of heart. But sooner or later you have to come to terms with, well, we live here. We choose to live here. Some of us crazier bears even MOVED here. We can either embrace the cold or we can spend 6 months of the year trying to run from our own shadow. One of my favorite lines in Shawshank Redemption comes to mind quite often on the blizzardy days…”I guess it comes down to a simple choice. Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.”
What is the prime time for shooting in South Dakota? After 20 years I’ll tell you my favorite time of year. In the Late Spring when everything turns green and the rain gives way to all that new, beautiful life, right on through the early Summer, and then right when the leaves turn in the Fall, which can often times happen so fast that if you blink you just might miss it. Yes this place turns into a fairytale of a world to live in. But when, ahhh when, it still doesn’t happen so regularly that we can mark it by the seasons or the days on the calendar.
My best answer for when is it a good time to take pictures, is right now. You have today. You have this little flash in the pan we call life, and folks if we wait around for the perfect conditions before we decide it’s time to mark an occasion or make a memory in pictures to hold onto for the golden years, well, someday never comes.
Kari just finished photographing a brand spanking new little baby boy coming into the world. She was on-call, ready to drop everything and dash to the hospital in a blink for weeks. I just photographed a family that withstood blizzard conditions for a chance to get together and make a memory. Tonight in fact I had the most impromptu photo session that I’ve ever had in 20 years. A good friend called me in a blitz, asked if I was in the middle of supper, and could I come with my camera to photograph his son who had in a blink decided he was taking a girl to the Winter Formal. I told him I didn’t have a car at the moment and was babysitting a puppy, but if he could come and pick me up I’d be happy to help them mark the occasion. 5 minutes later we were set up in his basement, photographing two happy kids all dressed to the nines and heading out for a dance while moms and dads looked on.
It was just a blink, but that’s life isn’t it? Just a series of blinks? The time for taking a picture that will last you a lifetime and live on in your family is always right. I don’t care if it’s -40 below and white out conditions, or if it’s a sweltering summer evening in the middle of July. If you’ve got something worth remembering, make those memories. Suffer a few minutes of mother nature. Endure it, push through, get off your rear end and get a pinch of motivation or gumption or whatever you want to call it under your belt. Make it happen. They grow up. They move on. You move on. The world changes. You’ll never regret it, because in just a blink…..