Learning from mistakes

What I missed in Japan


A trip to Japan and I missed an opportunity to capture the moment.


I convinced a local to drive me around the Japanese island, Okinawa. After 8 days traveling across the Pacific Ocean, I had finally arrived. I was rested. My camera equipment was clean, charged and formatted. We worked our way north.

Hiji Water Fall
Hiji Water Fall

We stopped at the 85 foot Hiji Falls, the highest water fall in Okinawa. I captured the environmental portrait.

Pacific Ocean

We continued north. The roads curved around molten rock formations. It was as if miniature Godzilla scaly-mountains were growing from the sea.

After 3 hours, we nearly rounded the northern point.

We stopped at a small cafe on the top of a coastal shoreline drop-off. A small 20-something woman was gardening in front of the restaurant. She was wearing a hat, a white work apron that covered her floral dress. She spoke english.

My heart was racing. I knew this was the moment. As I left Oklahoma City, I set out to create visual content that would land me a free lancing gig with National Geographic. And this woman was the story that could get me there.

The lighting was cool and soft. A slight breeze gracefully moved her thin black hair. Her white smile held the warmth and steadiness of the smooth coffee she served us. In the kitchen she moved dishes, a small window lit the dish pit perfectly; her eyes gently lit.

Kourage Cafe'

The perfect photo essay was upon me. The moment I was to capture my first world-traveling photo essay was all I ever wanted.

But, that moment came and went.

I was scared, intimidated. I couldn’t break through the tension I created in my own mind. I had photo-paralysis. I will never forget that feeling. Especially as we drove off. A perfect day, a perfect story, a perfect moment — a missed opportunity.

In the near future I will find myself in some setting across the globe. I will be faced with the same circumstances. But, this time I will be ready. I am learning. I am growing. The moments I have missed will not define me, rather, they will teach me and I will listen.

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