"Hey Nathan, how r u? Im back in Prague and I am already keen on next travels:) how about you? I wanted to ask you if you can send me some more pics from Culebra from this little bridge when you took a few pics, I know there were more of them:) please please:"
How can I say no? Let me give you a bit of context so you can better understand the question. Settle in, this may be a long story.
I spent my 38th birthday in a dream. I was on a beautiful tropical island in Puerto Rico, traveling with my good friend Alberto, with us an old Buddhist hippie, and all of us being chauffeured from beach to beach by an irresistible young blond curvy cute flight attendant from Prague who I still wasn't entirely sure wasn't one of my wet dreams being vividly hallucinated.
I wasn't supposed to be where I was. I was supposed to be on the west coast of Puerto Rico, in the surfing town of Rincon. Problem was, I just followed fate to land where I was. I had booked my first nights stay in PR at a hostel, and had very vague plans of surfing from there, but when I woke up to a couple of Brians asking who wanted to go to the Island of Culebra (which everybody in the hostel agreed was a great trip), I decided to run with it. When traveling, if you don't have a good reason to say "no" to an opportunity then you'd better say "yes." Brian and Brian (or Frosty, as he liked to be called), quickly became my friends. We had a shared twisted sense of humor, and an equally unusual sense of adventure. We spent that fist night sleeping in hammocks under the porch of the guy that ran the restaurant right off the beach before catching the ferry the next morning.
Nothing particularly eventful about the ferry, except there was this one cute little short blond girl traveling by herself also on the ferry. Funny thing, we ended up staying at the same hostel, the blond girl and I. Not too funny, I guess, as how it really happened was that I was interrupted in my waivering if I was going to stay at that hostel or not by a cute blond girl with an eastern european accent (I call it eastern european, but I was corrected and told that the Czech Republic is in central europe) telling Tommy who runs the hostel that she was here and had a reservation to stay.... "Yeah, this works fine for me, I'll be staying here also!"
Fast forward just a few days and Sarka (pronounced "Shark-uh") and I were getting along quite well. Well enough that a part of me was convinced that this girl really liked me. I mean in a like me like me sort of way! I knew for sure that she liked me well enough in the friend zone sort of way. We shared many great conversations, great meals, plenty of drinks, made other friends together, we even spent each others birthdays together. So the fact that I was never able to find out if she liked me liked me or not didn't take away from enjoying her company that much. Besides, Alberto and I were collecting quite a group of girls to travel with, most of whom I wondered if they liked me liked me and many seemed to. I guess I fell in love 5 times with 4 different girls on that trip, but none of them were unable to resist me. My overly developed ego tells me that those poor girls had to spend all day fighting back the urge to attack me with their lovin', but really they seemed to resist effortlessly.
Oh well, back to my birthday. It started early with renting a golf cart and snorkel gear. The plan was to go from beach to beach around this small island. Culebra is a very small island, and home to one very popular beach called Playa Flamenco. The beach was rated number 7 of the top ten beaches in the world by the travel channel, and more interestingly it was talked about in Hunter S. Thompson's "The Rum Diaries" as the Naval bombing range that they wanted to turn into a real estate development. It was also prominently featured in the Johnny Depp Rum Diaries movie anytime they wanted to depict a beach as it really is that gorgeous. But it is an easy well worn path to get to that beach, so we had our ride to check out everything else. After a long day of exploring the island, the sun started to make it's way over the horizon. So here we were, on a beautiful island, with beautiful scenery, during an hour of beautiful light, with a beautiful girl, and I have my camera! Photo shoot!
So here we were. I'm standing in waist deep warm ocean water, photographing a young flight attendant in a bikini, as Alberto and I look at each other and wonder how shitty our past lives must have been to be reincarnated with such great Karma. Hey, don't judge our belief in Karma, we'd spent half the day with an old Buddhist hippie, remember. I took quite a few pictures on that little dock of Sarka. When I got home, I edited my Puerto Rico photo's. I put 30 pictures into an album on Facebook, and of those 30, 4 of them were of Sarka taken on my birthday. I also sent another 3 or 4 from that day to her via email. Not a bad representation of the stuff we shot, I think. But then I get the message that opens this post.
I get this often. Back in the film days, when this was just a hobby of mine, I shot at a few weddings for family members. It was hard for me to explain to my cousin that I wasn't going to let him have the negatives I'd shot. He had paid for all of my film and developing, and I don't think he was out of line in wanting to see all of the work. His thought was that just because a shot wasn't good enough for me, didn't mean that he wouldn't love it. Sometimes that meant that there was a picture you knew I took, and you really wanted it, and all I would say is "I'm sorry". I don't remember hardly any of the keepers from those shoots, but I vividly remember how every one of the shots with both Ashley and Allen's family's in one group pic were out of focus at their wedding that I shot. She also really wanted that picture. I wouldn't even let her see it. Maybe I was just a jerk! Not only had she paid for my film and development, but she'd paid me money above and beyond that, she was my customer at this point, and I was unwilling to give her the one thing that she had asked for. She might have thought it wasn't so bad, after all. And that is the problem.
I am probably a harsher critic of my work than most of my friends and family are. But if you aren't one of my friends or family, and you're not in the picture, you'll probably be just as uninspired by the shots I edit out as I think you would be. You wanted that picture I took of you and your mother, and you wanted a picture of you and your mother so bad that you blindly ignore the fact that it is a horrible picture, and put it on your mantle.... then someone who is not you or your mother looks at that picture, and you tell them I took it, and now they know that I take bad pictures and can prove it. This isn't like looking at deleted scenes in the special features of a DVD, every picture of mine you see is my entire movie! Plus, let's face it, if you've ever watched the deleted scenes, you know why they ended up on the cutting room floor.
Most of this is just an expansion of the ideas I talked about in the second step from my post "How to take better pictures in 2 easy steps.", and I guess the rest is just a not so humble brag about how awesome my 38th birthday was! But before I tell how we put about 7 people in the golf cart for a late night skinny dipping adventure to end my birthday, let me finish telling about why you can't see all the pictures. To indirectly quote Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia Equipment, perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. I went back through the shots I had of Sarka, and there were some good ones that I hadn't sent her, but none of them were better than the ones she already had. I watered down my work to fulfill a request, but it wasn't to her benefit. If I don't show you a picture, it probably wasn't a good picture. Or if it was good, there was a better one, and I would rather give you better than good.
Now, I'm a much better photographer than when I was shooting my cousins weddings, and with digital, it is easier to tell if a shot was completely blown, but I still take bad pictures. Or at least not as good as the ones I showed you pictures. You are going to have very sound reasoning as to why you would like more of what we shot. You're not wrong, those are good points. And one of the points may even be one I haven't heard before. But none the less, you deserve only my best work, so that's all I'll give you.
So, hopefully this explains why I don't show you more of my work, even when you ask. If I did show you additional images, it's probably because you're a cute girl and I hope you like me like me. But what I should be doing is making sure I'm not just giving you pictures you're going to like, I want you to like them like them!