I left home yesterday evening full of optimism.

I was heading to a good friend’s house to help her do a quick set-up of her new Sony Alpha and as it was half-way in towards Tampa, I decided to combine it with a sunset shoot at Picnic Island.

The clouds looked ever-so promising high up in a beautiful blue sky and I was pretty confident in getting a good sunset based on all I knew.

Or should I say “based on all I thought I knew”.

Because after the quick stop enroute as I got back on the interstate heading into Tampa, the clouds had become much more threatening.

Gone were the soft puffy clouds that would float above the horizon and give me promise of orange and reds. They were replaced with intimidating and expansive light and dark grey clouds that threatened to swallow all before them and drop some wet-stuff in the process.

Undeterred, I continued the drive and found myself at a near-empty boat ramp and fishing pier with plenty of time for things to change in my favor.

It rained a little and the clouds somehow managed to find the one sweet-spot on the horizon that would create a near-total block of the sunset.

I mean, seriously!

There was lots of blue sky to the left and right but these mischievous gremlins decided Neville wasn’t going to have a sunset memory this evening.

I began to shoot anyway and waited in hope that there might be some lateral movement along the horizon as the sun made its final descent.

But my hope was in vain.

Just as it dropped through the final degree, the sun did manage to squeeze a tiny spray of color across the immediate clouds near the horizon.

So, I guess it wasn’t a total loss.

What am I saying … of course it wasn’t a total loss. Sometimes clouds try their utmost to hide what they think we want to see, but they forget their own beauty in the process. And that, my friends, is what I made the main subject of the evening.

There aren’t any Pulitzer prize-winning shots but I still think they were pretty enough to anchor the end of this blog. I hope you enjoy them.

Based on the lack of numbers there on the fishing dock last night, I am guessing that most people decided the evening wasn’t to their liking and stayed home on the sofa.

But I refused to let the clouds win and sought out success in spite of them.

And that is really was generated the thought for this little blog.

How spite can sometimes be a wonderful motivator, if we only listen to it occasionally.

As children we are told never to act out of spite and the word itself is given many negative reviews by those responsible for raising us.

We are called spiteful and such, as an insult and a put-down that is meant to reduce this emotion from our arsenal. In fact that word in itself is difficult to deliver in a positive way.

And yet we praise someone with phrases like “in spite of” or words like “despite” almost as if they are a negative to the word “spite”.

But they ignore that spite can be a real motivator and many times can be a driving force that takes our achievements to new heights.

“Girls can’t do that” is a centuries-old put-down that many “girls” have spitefully responded by doing just that.

Would they have achieved as good a result if they hadn’t been put down in such a manner? Who knows.

But what I do know is that there are many times where I have been motivated to succeed because someone expected me to fail. Proving someone wrong can infuse us with a drive and energy that would be difficult to conjure up entirely from within.

In fact, when people encourage us by telling us of course we can do something and then we can’t … well it just feels awful. Like we have let everyone down.

Humans rise best to a challenge and spite is a major ingredient to many a successful challenge. Never underestimate it.

Rather embrace it and harness the energy it can give you. Let the clouds pour across your horizon and let the rain fall on your shoulders. All they succeed in doing is making you look for new horizons and so what if you get a little damp in the process.

When life presents us with challenges and obstacles, they only serve to motivate us further and to find new way to succeed or new things to succeed at.

The one lady on the dock last night asked me if I was shooting the sunset. I replied that no, I was shooting the clouds. And I smiled inside, because I knew that my success would happen one way or another despite what the clouds might be attempting to do.

… just a thought.