Friday, July 09, 2010

Food For Thought Friday: Missing The Photographic Moments

Good Morning Everybody,

We had a full day yesterday exploring downtown Boston and seeing the sites. 

USS Constitution We love the history of the area. Visiting the U.S.S. Constitution (Old Iron sides) and hearing the stories of the sailors and the battles were amazing.  We also visited Paul Revere’s home - quite large for the 1700’s but heck, he did have 5 to 9 kids running around the house at any one time. He was also quite the entrepreneur of his times.  Again, a fascinating study of one of our great country’s founders [link] in our American history.

Whale LR - Fotolia_3402922_Subscription_XLWe plan on more of the same today, maybe with a little whale watching thrown in. 

They guarantee we’ll see whales so it should ne a pretty cool trip.  I’m looking forward to getting that great whale shot of the whale’s tail fins just entering the water – OK, maybe that is a bit ambitious for the tourist cruise but who knows ;~)

Hey gang, today I’d like you to consider “Missing the Photographic Moments” in our photography.  How many photographic moments do we miss personally or on the job and why do we miss them. 

Hit the “Read More…” link below for the rest of the story.

Missing The Photographic Moments

Missed Moments LR - Fotolia_7299854_Subscription_L I was sitting on the front terrace of our home about a week ago. There was a storm brewing In the clouds directly in front of my view. flashes of lighting were brightly lighting the cloud's interior.

This lightning was not like regular lightning that makes the ground strikes. This evenings lighting was confined only to within the clouds. And the clouds were dancing brightly with the millions of volts of energy they contained.

I just sat there mesmerized by what I was witnessing on this mild summer evening - it was truly beautiful to behold. As I continued to enjoy nature's Midwest version of the aurora borealis, I could see after a while, that the clouds were slowly spreading even more over the entire sky. The lightning flashes were not as the bright - still fun to watch but diminished substantially from the earlier minutes of the evening.

It was at that point that I finally decided to grab the camera and see if I could capture any of the last remnants of this amazing and beautiful cloud lightning display. But, I was to late. I missed the moment and there had been plenty of them earlier.

Had I grabbed the tripod and camera just about 30 minutes sooner, I could have gotten some great images of this remarkable "in the clouds" lightning storm. They would have been some exciting images.

That's when it hit me - how many moments do we miss in life that we could have captured photographically but we lazily just let them slip by. Heck, missing moments isn't always photography related either. How many other moments do we miss by being unprepared or just too lazy to just get up and move toward the moments?

Now let's put "missing moments" in the context of wedding photography. How many times has a bride complained about her photographer not getting some special shots (moments) at her wedding? The answer is that too many brides have that complaint too  often. What's the problem?

I think the answer can be summed up in the fact that many photographers are not actively attentive when it comes to shooting wedding. They are simply not paying enough attention to the events around them and are missing great shots. I've seen it many times myself at weddings/events where I have attended as a guest. I just cringe when I see the moment missed.

I remember years ago while shooting a wedding, the banquet manager came up to me and commented on my wedding technique. She said, "You always seem to be studying and watching the room waiting for something to happen. You seem to be on the prowl never dropping your attention from any part of the event and when you see the moment you are ready to capture the photograph."

Wow! It sure was a nice compliment but, I think it describes exactly how every wedding photographer should approach his/her craft. Yes, I said craft, not art. We have to be good craftsmen at what we do too. We need to know how to get the job done well. And getting any job done well is the result of preparation, training, and diligent execution.

The art of our wedding shoot is evident in how we bring the visual compositions together. The art is about how we use the light creatively to obtain that dramatic result. The art is seen in how we weave the images together into a wonderful story.

An excellent wedding photographer has to be both a good artist and good craftsman. Both qualities are necessary if you want to produce a standout job for your client. One's artistry comes from within. It's how one sees the world in their own mind's eye.

But wedding craftsmanship is a studied process and requires practice. It requires a certain "on the job" vigilance so that no moments are missed when they present themselves. That too is what defines a wedding professional because a professional is always pushing to be the best they can be so they can do the best job for their client.

So where does that bring us today? Whether you are an aspiring photographer or a seasoned pro, we all need to constantly be honing the craft of our profession. We can never let up on the job. We need to be vigilant for every moment that presents itself and be "camera" ready to capture the shot.

To suggest anything less than that only means that we are being less professional than we could be for our clients and that just doesn't play in my book. And, I hope, not for you either.

So, back to my lightning storm.

Lightning1-Night Lightning After bringing the camera out and setting up the tripod, I did manage to capture a few shots like this one, but it was not like the shots I could have captured had I chosen not to miss the moment. Maybe next time ;~)


Gypsy Hey gang, that's it for me today. We are enjoying our stay  in Boston and are heading over to the North Shore Music Theater this evening to see Gypsy. For anyone reading this post that lives within "shouting distance" of Boston, you have a great treasure in the North Shore Music Theater. It closed in 2009 but is roaring back this year with their grand re-opening - we can't wait!

They've recently moved their new quarters, now a theater in the round, so the show should be a fascinating experience this evening. Hey, if anyone reading this is in the audience tonight, come on over and say "HI". We are in Section A in the front row.

Sunday we head over to Bar Harbor, Maine. As I previously mentioned, we've never experienced that part of the country and hear it is gorgeous - we can't wait. So, how about I plan to see everybody here bright and early on Monday - blogging from the bay.

See ya' then. Have a great weekend everybody and I'll see you next week.

Adios, David


  1. David,

    I just got back from my 3rd trip to Bar Harbor and it's awesome! I highly recommend getting up early to photograph the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain. It's also a great location for sunsets photos. Other must see locations are Jordan Pond (walk around the pond it's worth it)and the Gorham Mt. hike on Park Loop Road. Oh yeah, you have to take the drive over to the Schoodic Peninsula! I posted some photos from my last trip on my blog at Enjoy!

  2. A beautiful moment not captured by our cameras still exists in our memory. If we are being payed, it is our duty to be prepared, anticipate, recognize, and capture these moments. But on our own we can opt to capture these moments with our art. If we do not, we can still savor the moment in our memories.

  3. I had a similar thought - if you're not in a paid situation, should you try to capture every moment with your camera? Why not sit back enjoy the storm, enjoy your grandchildren playing, whatever. Just chill out. Your camera can come between you and what you're part of, changing the mood.

  4. Jumping off from what Jerry said a little bit, I think there is a point in which our photography (or whatever interest/hobby/pursuit we have) can overtake our lives and experiences, becoming a sort of bondage that inhibits rather than enhances living. There are times in which I've witnessed something beautiful in nature (a couple weeks ago it was a brilliant double rainbow), and rather than racing for my camera, like everyone was urging me to do, I have elected to just enjoy the sight and the emotions it evoked. Grabbing the camera and messing with it, trying to get that 'once in a lifetime' shot, would have just sucked the life out of the moment. There's a good chance that I'd never be able to resurrect those same emotions and appreciate the moment in the same way by looking at a photo of the moment hours or decades later, anyway. Sometimes, for me, it is better to let the craft fall away to the side and allow myself to live out the moment. (Just to clarify, I'm not talking about anything done while shooting on the job).

  5. The problem is that it is very difficult to adhere to that philosophy and any level of success makes people think they have an ability to let the balls fly like Casey Jones at the bat. That type of dedication is very hard. The photographer has to remember that every new wedding is someone's special day and should be treated with the same reverence.

  6. Ditto to Brian and Travis. Excellent comments.