My camera kit has been dutifully sitting in the garage for the past few days. Out in the garage it is already at outdoor temperatures and therefore ready to go at a moment’s notice. Yesterday I took the camera out into the back garden and shot some pictures of the cardinals (yes; more cardinals), robins and trees. While I haven’t yet viewed these pictures I think I may have a couple that are pretty smart.
This morning I woke up with the intent of heading to our local park (also the site of a small dam meant for flood control) to capture some of the flooding….and maybe some more cardinals! Upon waking I found the weather to be less-than-ideal for photography. Well…that’s not completely true. It was overcast and rather cool; maybe even cold. And these sorts of conditions aren’t bad for photography, but I said to myself “I have ENOUGH pictures taken in this sunless stuff. I’m not going.” Hardly an inspired person first thing this morning, eh?
Ran some errands and then retired to the basement to pay bills and such. It was during this time that I happened to look up and out one of the basement windows. I was expecting rain as that is what we had been led to believe we would have this afternoon. Instead I see blue skies and trees gently swaying in the wind. Shit.
So I’m off in my car and head to the exit side of the dam. Wow. Unbelievable. Amazing. We’ve seen flooding on the flood plain side of the dam, but NOTHING like this. I snap picture after picture all with the purpose of capturing the moment. In this particular instance I’m less interested in photography as “art” as I am in photography as capturing a moment in time.
However, when I finish with the rushing torrent of water being ejected from the dam, I take a short stroll along the swiftly moving river. Along the way I encounter some lovely low-growing yellow flowers and stop to take a few photos of them. Using my 17-85mm I get down low and as close as its ‘macro’ focus setting will allow and prepare to press the shutter release when a bee buzzes into the frame. SCORE! Snap, snap, snap goes the shutter and I’m hopeful that at least one picture came out well. Further down the path I come across two geese; one sleeping and one keeping an eye on things, especially me. I switch to my 70-200mm and move into a position that I feel is close, but not too close as to disturb the geese. Again I shoot a handful of shots and hope that at least one will be good.
I drove around to the back side of the dam and again shot more pictures to capture the massive flooding. It was during my walk back to the car that I started thinking about my attitude earlier this morning where I was thinking about how I had enough of gray-day pictures. “What an idiot,” I continued to think. “When do you hear someone say, ‘I think I have enough sunny-day pictures. I’m going to wait for some gray days.'” The important thing is that I shoot and shoot often. Every day if I can. No. Every day regardless of whether I can or cannot. It’s not just a question of becoming more familiar and comfortable with the camera and lenses, but the notion that there are typically only a few ‘gems’ of photographs within any given hundred or hundreds of pictures taken. The only way to be certain I move that ratio in an upward direction is to shoot, shoot, shoot. Oh, and pay attention and learn from my mistakes. I guess those things are important too.
(a hearty thanks to those of you who have often said to shoot and to shoot often….you know who you are)