I laughed out loud when I read one of Darwin Wiggett’s articles a few days ago. He was recalling his earlier photography days when he used to arrive at a spot and frantically take photos before hurrying off to the next location. He referred to himself as a “combat nature photographer.”
I think this same experience is one that almost all of us can recall. In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago that I didn’t quite feel complete until I could produce at least one good photo a day. But now I know better.
We’ve all gone home from a photo shoot thinking about why we didn’t do any vertical shots, or that we should have bracketed exposures, or taken the grad ND out of the camera bag and actually used it!
In many ways it’s not all about the photo. It’s about the process. It’s about the experience. Some of my very best photos have been the result of a slow, methodical, and deliberate approach to getting the results I’m trying to achieve. I’m finding my work is thanking me for slowing down.
I spend more time visualizing what a scene means to me, and trying to produce an image that conveys the emotions I feel at the time. I know now just how important it is to take a look around, breathe and take in the experience of being there. I’m learning to walk around with the camera off tripod to get my possible compositions, all the while noticing how the light dances around the landscape.
As you gain experience, the compositions come quicker. The metering and camera work come quicker. However, it is still important to go through the process of enjoying the moment and experiencing the scene.
Don’t let your photographic moments disappear in a blur with little or no recollection. Breathe, and try the slow deliberate approach.