/ Photography

Sinking Costs on England’s Jurassic Coast

This morning, I skipped my B&B’s amazing breakfast for an early dawn shoot on the Jurassic Coast. I drove and walked about an hour to get set up for a composition I picked out yesterday, and waited.

A few minutes before sunrise, I realized I wouldn’t care for the lighting that much. It was nice, but not that nice: the sky was too clear, and the pinks on the horizon were subdued. So I walked back to my car and just strolled down the beautiful pebble beach at Lulworth Cove.

I didn’t take my camera out of the bag once all morning.

A year ago, I would have beat myself up and felt lousy all morning for dedicating effort to a dawn shoot and bringing back zero shots. But this morning, I actually really enjoyed myself: I felt content and peaceful as I soaked in the sunrise and listened to the waves.

The difference between this year and the last is understanding the Sunk Cost Fallacy: when time, money or effort is irrevocably spent, it should have no bearing on our next decision. So what if I gave up breakfast and a few hours to get here? I can’t get them back, but I can stop sinking more time and effort into it by moving on.

Which brings the most value right now: continuing to shoot subpar photos because of the things I gave up to get here, or enjoying a walk on a pebble beach?

I hope it’s a sign I’m maturing as a landscape photographer: that knowing when to quit and being able to enjoy the rest of the day means I no longer feel that a successful image is determined by a roll of the die.

What past investments have locked you into a mediocre path at the expense of a better avenue? Every minute is a clean slate, so what will you stop sinking your time, money and effort into?

Jonathan Lee Martin

Jonathan Lee Martin

Globetrotting digital nomad and fine art landscape photographer in Atlanta. Working remotely as a developer + international trainer, scaling mountains at twilight to discover non-touristy landscapes.

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