Thursday, January 5, 2012

Patience is a Photographic Virtue

How Not to Take Good Photos
Here are the keys to photographic success:
  1. Buy an expensive DSLR.
  2. Roar up to a turnout near a scenic outlook.
  3. Thrust camera out of the window and take several frames.
  4. Drive off.
  5. Admire your work at home.
This really happened and I caught it, mostly by accident. I was positioned at the Hurricane Point turnout just south of the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, waiting for the light from the setting sun to get just right. My camera was mounted on my tripod and every few minutes I took a frame or two. Suddenly, a car drove up and the scene I just described unfolded. I swung around and captured it.
I don't know how good the woman's photos were. Maybe they were spectacular; maybe they were blurry because it was a low-light situation and she shot without support. But beyond her haste to take pictures, I know she could not appreciate the beauty below us in the few seconds she was there. As I stood on the high bluff overlooking the rocky Big Sur coast I was able to enjoy the golden light falling on the blue Pacific water and the vista laid out before me. Now, when I look at the image below, I will not only enjoy the photo itself, I'll be transported back to the hour I spent experiencing the landscape. Her memory will be much different.
Bixby Bridge at Dusk
For me, photography isn't just about creating an image for my future enjoyment. It's also a pathway to re-experiencing what I did to capture the image. I want to be relive the smells, sounds and the totality of the sensory experience when, years later, I gaze at it and remember how much I enjoyed creating it and the time I devoted to doing so.
What will she remember?

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