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Monday, October 19, 2009

Shoot fast, shoot often, shoot well

Think of this as a guest column from Rockin' On: Photography. I love the pictures and I think the advice is worth giving to everyone and not just budding photographers.

Cheers,
Rockinon
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When I was a news shooter for The London Free Press we never shot just one image from an assignment. One picture leads to another. This angle leads to that angle. The opportunities seem almost infinite.

In the film era there was a check on our drive to shoot just one more picture - the film. You had to pace yourself or you would run out. You only shot the stuff that seemed truly good. You learned to be somewhat discerning. I say somewhat because I still recall seeing photogs returning from assignment with six or more rolls of exposed film.

Well, film is history and the check on our trigger finger has been removed. This is both good and bad. Often pictures that didn't seem that great at the moment they were taken, prove to be brilliant when properly cropped in the enhancement process. There's no excuse for letting a picture opportunity slide by today.

Well, there is one excuse. If you shoot way too much, you'll run the risk of missing some good stuff in the editing process. The room for digital images on your disk may seem infinite but your time isn't. It is still wise to be somewhat discerning.

All of that said, if you get a chance for a picture, take it. And let it take you.





Saturday I was on my way to the mall to buy some jeans. I saw a couple of hot-air balloons and stopped for a quick picture - the image of the balloon with the apartment building in the foreground.

I liked the picture so much that I decide to chase the balloons. They were drifting over the southwestern edge of the city, heading for the open fields of the countryside. I might get a nice hot-air balloon at sunset shot, I thought.

Shooting with a six-year-old Canon SD10, a point and shoot with a fixed wide angle lens, it's work finding images. When one balloon dipped low and near, I pulled my car over, jumped out, leapt the water-filled-ditch and ran into the field. I shot quickly. Composing and recomposing my images. The result is on the left.


 I thought I might be able to capture something even better. As the balloon rose slowly to clear some distant trees, I jumped into my car and sped off in search of the next country road taking me to the balloons.

At one point, I thought I was too far away to get a picture but it looked as if the balloon was landing and the fun was at an end. This isn't film, I thought - shoot something. The basket below the balloon was skimming about two or three feet above a field but it did not make a clear silhouette because of some a dark grove of trees immediately behind.











I waited. The balloon didn't touch down but moved past the trees. I had my shot. Click!

Within moment the hot-air balloon touched down and the fun was over. I headed home. On the way home I stopped for the picture of the fall coloured trees reflected in the still pond. I never did stop for new jeans.

















The lesson: shoot fast, shoot often, shoot well. Oh, and have fun!

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