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In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you — Deepak Chopra

This North Lake morning reflection image might present a scene of stillness and quietness, but in real life, it was a zoo out there. I arrived at North Lake the dark, set up my tripod, and waited for sunrise. Just before sunrise, about two dozen “photographers” invaded this small lake. Apparently, a greedy and irresponsible workshop leader decided to bring over twenty students out to this fragile location during the sunrise hour.

I was looking for some quiet time alone, but the noise pollution from this group was intolerable. To get away from incessant human noises, I picked up my tripods and walked to the other side of the lake. The noises followed me, “What’s that plastic thing in front of your lens? How much did you pay for that bag?” I drove for six hours, and waited patiently in the cold morning for sunrise light and still water … to tell a stranger how much I paid for my photo bag? There was another “photographer” two feet from my left who wanted my exact tripod position. First-come, first-served? Common courtesy? None was applicable out there that morning. Did I mention sandwich wrappers and orange peels found scattering around the lake perimeter around 6AM?

I did my best to ignore all the noises and to focus through my view finder to find my own space. In the end, I just shook my head, packed up my gears and left the lake shortly after I took this photo. I came home with a few good photos, but full of disappointments for my fellow “photographers”.

I wrote this post last year, but did not want not to post it out of anger. A few months later, I decided to share my story just to send a gentle reminder to those who are new to nature photography: when out shooting on remote locations, please remember to tread lightly and leave only footprints. We all come from different corners of life, but as nature photographers, we should share a common bond: our love and respect for our beautiful landscape.