Learning the hard way that a cup of coffee may lead to a few curses...
As a fellow photographer, you may have experienced one, more or all (like me) of the following during a trip out to catch a beautiful sunrise:
You forgot to fill the car with fuel and petrol stations don't open until 7am
The SD card is still in the computer after the last photo import
The camera batteries are all flat (even the spares)
The 'wake me up' cup of coffee you couldn't resist lost you that important half hour
The beautiful sunrise photos are all small jpegs at ISO 6400 because the last shots you took were of a sports event and you didn't change the settings in your excitement
You wish you had remembered your waterproof/hat/gloves/fleece - curse that weather forecast
The tripod quick release plate is on your other camera body
I have experienced all of the above, sadly some on more than one occasion, because I can't be bothered to get stuff sorted the night before. Perhaps I just hate planning?
I have got better at preparing for a shoot the night before, and I think the turning point was a trip to Buttermere. It was a dark, cold winter morning and I succumbed to the 'wake me up' cup of coffee. Very nice! As I got out of the house I knew it was going to be a lovely morning and regrets started to seep in. On the way to Buttermere (about a 30 minute drive) the pre-dawn light got better and better, warmer and redder with some clouds to show off the colours. It was obvious I wasn't going to get to the 'lone tree' on Buttermere's west shore in time. By the time I reached Crummock Water the sunrise colours were at their best, so I stopped to get a record shot, which was OK but the lake shore wasn't at the best angle for the light at that time of the morning.
Quickly back on my way I reached the National Trust car park at Buttermere with the beautiful red sky gradually turning to orange. Cursing, I commenced my hurried and sweaty jog to the lake shore and managed to get set up with tripod while there was still some warmth in the sky. Phew, a few nice shots at least, including the 'lone tree'! But it was definitely a case of what might have been, especially as I spotted a more organised photographer passing me with a large smile, clearly finished with his morning's work just as I was starting.
The rest of the morning was thankfully super enjoyable as the conditions were amazing and I managed to record several interesting shots walking around the lake, including some of very obliging highland cattle.
So now, although not perfect, I am much better at preparing the night before, carrying out checks to avoid the aforementioned problems, as well as preparing a flask of coffee! And when I wake in the morning and get out in time to my chosen location, and take a photo on an SD card, using a camera with power, set to the correct settings, sitting on a secure tripod, I realise that I really love planning.