For the past couple weeks I have been perusing many photography related sites….. Mostly just because the weather has been terrible outside, leaving me with little opportunity to do much capturing of sweet images. So I figured it was time that I could read up on some techniques and processes to enhance my abilities. One of the things I have seen consistently across a lot of these sites is photographers giving advice to slow down and concentrate on your image. Getting your composition correct, adjusting your settings, honing your skills, take less photos and make each shot meaningful, wait for the perfect shot etc…

Bull. Shoot Early, and Shoot Often.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not telling you to avoid learning to use your camera properly. Technique and skills are very important things for any photographer to learn. However, it is also important to remember that this is 2013. Most people are shooting digital, and not using film. Memory card capacity can be very large and very cheap. Fill up that card. You can always delete the junk and there is no cost to you. You are not paying to develop and print these images.

One of my favorite local shooting locations is Brookfield Zoo outside of Chicago. I will often go there for 2-3 hours and take pictures of as many animals as I can. It is not uncommon for me to leave there with over 1000 images to sort through. I know that sounds like a lot for such a short period of time doesn’t it? Some “hardcore” photographers will say that I am not talented and that this is “Grip it and Rip it” or “Spray and Pray” photography… and that I am simply hoping that I will capture a image that works by luck.

Guess what. You’re damn right.

This image was caught during a “Spray and Pray”

I find it hilarious when I am at the zoo and I see a “pro” with his Lightmeter out checking for proper exposure (that tiger is 40 feet away from your lightmeter dummy), has his camera on a monopod, staring out into the tiger pit waiting for something to happen. I find it even funnier when I walk by there 30 mins later and he is still sitting there waiting…. when finally the tiger starts to yawn… and “Click”… one image captured. ONE. Dude come on, you have been standing there forever and you get one shot? Run that shutter like a machine gun!

This poor soul is going to get home and dump his card and have 15-20 frames for his multiple hour effort at the Zoo. So what happens if that one image of the tiger yawning is a dud because a bird flew through the frame, or you released the shutter 2 seconds too early or 2 seconds too late and missed the action? Now you have nothing to show for your efforts…. and worse you missed the opportunity to capture a really great shot because you are focusing too much on the “technique” and not enough on getting a picture.

Many things in life are about being in the right place at the right time, and that holds true for capturing a really great image, and pushing the shutter in the right place at the right time. If you are focusing too much on the settings and buttons on your camera, you are going to miss some really good images.You won’t capture a great picture staring at the histogram of your last picture… Ignore what I will call the “Radical Purist” mentality on our craft. Photography is what you make of it, and there is no right way or wrong way to capture a really great picture.

So fill up that 32GB memory card, SPRAY AND PRAY! There are plenty of boring nights to sort out the rejects. You might even surprise yourself when you find a hidden gem in that pile of pictures.

Ignore the noise….
Machine Gunner Marty

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