It's a funny thing about photography. Sometimes you have to be in the right frame of mind to get something worthwhile. To be able to see the beauty in front of you.
The difficult thing is you never know when that right frame of mind is going to happen. You can go out and spend a whole day photographing but not really be in tune with what's going on around you, and as a result you come away with not much at all.
And then there are other times when you aren't really thinking of taking pictures at all and suddenly you have a flash of inspiration. A glimpse of what could be, if only you had your camera!
The only way to be prepared for those flashes is to carry your camera around as much as humanly possible. Now I realise that for most of us the idea of lugging a whole kit everywhere we go is less than appealing so I recommend that you choose one body and a zoom lens and try to have it with you as much as possible.
You'll suddenly find yourself able to take pictures you never dreamed of. Take this shot above. It is one of my most-published pictures. It was taken on the beautiful Lake Toya in Hokkaido, Japan. At the time I was working as an English teacher and the head of the school took all the staff on a celebratory weekend away (before he skipped town with all the profits but that's another story!). Anyway it was a weekend of eating and drinking and just having a great old time in this famous hot springs resort.
I woke up on the Sunday morning to find this out the hotel window. It would have been relegated to the depths of my brain had it not been for the fact that I had my camera gear with me. I wasn't planning on taking photos but had it along just in case. I put a 75-300mm zoom on and placed the house boat down in the bottom corner of the picture so that I could place the reflections of the mountains in the top of the frame.
This picture has been run as a double-page spread, cropped to a single full page and run as a cover shot. It just keeps on selling and selling. It was the only photo I took that weekend but I never would have been able to capture it if I hadn't had my gear with me.