Back in 1999, I made this photograph of the Illinois River:
I entered it in a photo contest (which really dates it, because I can’t imagine doing the same nowadays) and it won first place ($75 and a mention in a magazine).
A decade later, I revisited the same location. Actually, I revisited the waterfalls just below this spot because the path to this location had been blocked by the local authorities under penalty of catapult (or so I’m told). The cliffs had become unstable in the last few years.
A bit deflated, my friend and I hiked down the trail and encountered two other photographers. They stopped us to ask about our equipment. We talked about the photo opportunities in the area. Then they proceeded to go on for 20 minutes about Canon lenses.
Here we were, 4 photographers in the middle of the most beautiful forest imaginable, talking about lenses. About 10 minutes in, I started inching away. I guess you’d call it my awakening. Among the shots they missed: