I think every serious photographer I know is driven by something. Many of my favorite landscape photographers started out as climbers, campers, trekkers, or otherwise extremely passionate about being outdoors. They picked up a camera later, after falling in love with a subject.
Me, I’m an explorer. Not in the macho guy blazing a trail through the jungle sort of way, but just extremely curious. When I was a kid, I used to take apart anything mechanical or electronic just to see how it works (though I didn’t always manage to get it back together in one piece). My pre-school teacher commented to my mom on the first day that she was surprised I didn’t try to take apart the oven. I have no idea what that means. Did they really let a bunch of four-year olds play around hot kitchen equipment? I guess that’s the way it was back then.
These days, that tinkering spirit tends to come out in two very different ways, when I’m working on new software ideas, or exploring new cities or trails I’ve never visited. My friend and I hustled for well over an hour up this mountain in order to make this ridge in time to photograph the sun setting over the lake and fall trees. We made it with maybe an extra minute to spare. And since we had headlamps and I’ve grown to really trust the GPS Tracks app, I proposed we hike out on a completely different path we’d never seen. Not the craziest risk ever, since we were on a trail, but it was four miles of marching through total darkness in the woods and several splits in the coming trail. I love that sort of little adventure. Very fun to try something new. I’ll never forget the stunning view, but I think I’m even more fond of that trek back through the night woods.