An Unsuccessful Shoot
Looking back, the signs were all there. I hit the snooze on the alarm clock 2 or 3 times before getting out of bed. I took a wrong turn on the drive to Sunset Cliffs. The skies were bland and blah when I finally arrived on scene. And then I clipped my thumb in the car door, silently shouting at myself (and hopping around the street like an idiot).
As my thumb continued to swell up, I still tried to setup for a shot. It was futile. The light was very low. I couldn't frame up a decent composition. I'm walking along sheer cliff faces. In the dark. Doing all this one handed. The throbbing in my thumb it getting worse by the minute.
I walked away after 20 minutes, bailing ~5 minutes into a planned 10 minutes exposure. The rest of weekend was a wash with respect to photography.
So ... what can I learn from all this? First is to pay attention! I can't believe I caught my own thumb in the door. Nobody's faulty but mine. No wind to blame. I wasn't parked on a hill so no gravity to blame (although it would have been cool to scream out "Curse you Isaac Newton!"). I simply didn't focus on the task at hand ... I was thinking about where to setup the gear.
Beyond that - make a dry run. I usually do this for very early morning shots. Locations always look different when dark. This time I did so virtually with fly-over maps. That's helpful, but it's never a substitute for a live visit. If I'd done that, I would at least have had a good composition in mind and might have walked away with something usable.
Nothing beats proper planning. Although it was cool that the bruising on my thumb looked like a silhouette for a short while (what's pictured) ... now it's just a gigantic, swollen purple blob.