Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Photo Opportunities

When I look back over the pictures I have been able to shoot in the past few years I am blown away by the incredible beauty of what my lens has captured. WOW! I feel lucky to have been able to do this kind of thing. Most of the photos were shot while I was keeping up with a schedule of customer visits while traveling in the western USA. The better photos are actually shot on weekends of downtime when I am waiting to begin another week on the road.
Either way, the photos rarely reflect the emotions of what I am feeling at the time of shooting. I am often exhausted and racing from one stop to another. I dart every direction chasing the flashes of light I see out of the corners of my eyes. These flashes always drag me back for a closer look. Do you ever see flashes of light or color and turn around to go back and shoot? I never did when I was young but it seems I do this all the time now. I'll bet I have days where I put the car into reverse more than 100 times. Now my nose has become my guide and I follow it as much as possible. Maybe they will find me at the bottom of a hill one day after my nose sends me chasing a flash of light off a cliff. Either way ... for sure I had a blast all the way down taking pictures.
The term "run and shoot" was used to describe an offense used in the CFL and NFL for a while ... it also describes most of my weekends. I really appreciate your comments and encouragement when I see your reactions to the photos I have taken over this past year but I have seen a bit of a pattern of what you are all collectively appreciating.
It is with that in mind that I would like to make a suggestion for you who are photographers and want to live a day like me. Try to nail down places you do not normally go on a sheet of paper and set out early to chase those photo opportunities. Chart out 4 or 5 major things to shoot. Fill the whole day. Figure out the best times to be in each of them and shoot from every angle possible when you are at each one before moving on to the next one. THIS IS THE KEY I HAVE DISCOVERED ... Try to have moments along the way while traveling between your 4-5 spots when you deliberately say ... I am going to backup and go and see that other thing that you see along the way. It seems to me that my best shots are often the shots in between when I had no idea something would happen. Prepare yourself for that. Be careful driving if you are not used to thinking like this along the way.
When I am driving, my camera is literally on the floor within quick grabbing distance. It is always ready to fire in a fast shutter speed. That way I have a chance to catch that deer that suddenly appears. Remember ... if a turtle shows up ... you always have a chance to slow down your shutter speed for greater depth of field. You just don't get that opportunity when a beautiful Corvette comes flying around the corner.
The most important thing you do is to take in as much as possible of what you are seeing. Stopping to smell the roses IS really a good idea. Creation is a beautiful thing to see and it is most often ignored. God is screaming out to get your attention. I think He is shouting, Hey, come see this thing I made for you to see and learn more about me!
Keep an eye on the blog as I will be shooting the beautiful State of Colorado for the next week. Have a great Tuesday.
NikonSniper Steve

20 comments:

Carole said...

Thank you for explaining how these incredible photos happen... and thank you for sharing.
I agree... God is saying.. come look... because he did not have to make them or even in such awesome color...but he did for us.. because 'God is love' and he loves us. I look forward to my read in the Google reader.. everyday.

Katherine said...

I'm in Stephen! My husband & I are only amateurs & we are really only learning to use our cameras. But I agree with you...we have such a paradise to shoot. So many beautiful things to see & I for one, love to capture the moment. It creates great visual memories that last a lifetime.
I think our hearts beat to a similar drum...when it comes to how we see this beautiful world. There is so much raw beauty here in Australia but I can't wait to leave for foreign shore & capture moments elsewhere... Hope your having a great week. Cheers Kath

Laura..DancesWithTeddyBears said...

You see, you stop, you even go back. You take time to smell the roses. Wonderful, isn't it.
I never went back, in my younger day. Always in a hurry. I do now.
Your work is incredible, your eye exceptional.

Bruce Caspersonn said...

Just keep going, it is appreciated.

Cheryl Ann said...

You are so right about stopping and backing up! We made two trips to Joshua Tree over my spring break. The first one, it was click, click, click, hurry, hurry, hurry! I was disappointed with the photos I took. The second trip, with our daughter and son-in-law, I took my time and tried to find more unusual photos and shots. My photos were much better! We all need to take the time to THINK about what we are doing! Thank you for reminding me. Excellent post!

Mountain Photog said...

That's wonderful advice. Many of my best shots were taken while on my way to another destination, scenes where the light was perfect or the weather was interesting or I came across a rare combination of factors. . .

Your photos are beautiful. It's obvious that you always have your eyes open for opportunities. :)

Where are you going to be in Colorado?

-- Lisa

Nel said...

Thanks for sharing this. It is a joke with us, My hubby now knows when we are going down the road and I yell STOP it is not an emergency, I seen something I want to capture. We laugh about it now, but it scared him a few times. Can't wait to see your pics from Colorado trip!

until next time... nel

CTG Ponies said...

A great idea! I take my camera everywhere with me. Some of my best pics are completely random, taken out of the window of the car or at a time when I have a sneaking feeling that it's going to turn into something special.

WorldLens said...

Thank you, Stephen. Very interesting comment and a reflection on life in general, too. As kids and young adults most of us are in fast forward the whole time with no pauses to reflect. We get older and although our bodies don't necessarily slow down much, our minds start to go deeper. Our awareness has less to do with seeing as interpreting what we see.

Just this morning my eye kept catching a glimpse of something unusually shaped up a tree. I finally took the time (and the camera, lol) to go and look properly. It was a young Roadrunner. Very high up, too, which is unusual in the Roadrunners I've observed. I got a lovely shot of it which a few years ago wouldn't have happened.

Julie said...

Great advice. I have my camera with me all the time because I just never know when a awesome photo might present itself.

Karin said...

Thanks for sharing all your wonderful shots of amazing places! Never a dull moment in God's creation!

Jessica Brunette said...

I enjoy recognizing many of the shots you share! And thanks for the insight.

Don and Sher said...

My wife and I do more U-turns then driving straight on.

Keep on shootin'

Crystal Iris Photography said...

So many blessings connecting our hearts with Gods... I loved your words- "HEY, come and see this thing I made for you to see and learn more about me!" It made me smile.

Flutterby said...

I am discovering a similar thing. I have taken 20,000 pictures of interesting things, people and events since last May. Occasionally I am on a freeway and the Lord blesses me with a spectacular sunset and no way to stop. Then I remind myself this is a snapshot from the Lord just enjoy; I will catch another one, another day. Thanks for sharing your pictures and your ideas.

Stephen Baird said...

karin,
lake louise, i gotta see it soon. banff jasper and calgary. not many know i was born in canada. i am an american now, wife is still a canadian.
nikonsniper steve

BUSH BABE said...

Yep, yep, yep and YES!!!!

I see photos in my mind about 50% of my waking hours... so much is an opportunity to capture something amazing. It's a way of seeing the world, I think. And I'm not saying or thinking I am unique - most people see it. They just don't take the time to stop and GET it. Even if you fail to capture what you see in your minds eye, you are a whole lot closer than if you kept on driving.
:-)
BB

Bogaman said...

Your photos are great. Your witty comments are the icing on the cake.X.

becky said...

Hello Steve!
First of all, beautiful photos! I still need to spend a few days clicking back I think to view them all! I have always loved photography, and the camera is such a wonderful tool for so many reasons... to document, to share beauty, but also just to be in the moment. When we take our camera, stop, aim, focus, shoot... we are truly right there, in that moment! I agree with you in that there is so much beauty in the world, and sometimes we are in such a hurry we miss things... once you start photographing, I think you also start tuning into those little things...
Funny, I have just recently been doing that~ turning around to go back & capture something that caught my eye.. although sometimes I'm on a highway with no where to pull off!
Happy Shooting & safe travels to you!

Elaine said...

The best shots are usually the ones we don't plan. We just need to keep our eyes open. If we're lucky we are able to get the camera up and get the shot, but there are many shots that remain in our memory--the ones that got away. You have managed to get a huge number of wonderful shots. Of course, in the process you've also risked life and limb. I know it's a compulsion with you, but thanks for sharing your photos with us.