Opportunistic Photography

The other day, I listened to a photographer explain how he had a vision for an image of a knight in armor on a horse in fog.  He went to great lengths to find a renaissance festival where there would be jousting.  He flew to England and shot a knight in armor on a horse.  Back home, he bought a sword and shot that.  He found a dark, foggy setting, and shot that too.  Then, he Photoshopped it all together to get the image he originally imagined.

Frankly, I’ve never had a vision of anything that would motivate me to go to that much expense to create it.  I don’t know if the image was commissioned or if this was just for fun, but I cannot imagine deciding to go to England just to get an image of a knight on a horse.

Perhaps that is why my photography is not getting significantly better.  I go out with my camera in the hope of something happening that’s interesting.  I’m an opportunist.  As such, I find myself in situations where I can’t get a good angle, the light is horrible, or it’s just too intrusive or disruptive to arrange the subject or setting.

Take our recent visit with our friends who came to see us.  We spent the second day in downtown Chattanooga.  In the first image in the gallery, I told my subjects to stand still for a second and took a shot where you can barely see them.  Why did I do this?  Because they were all standing together and I knew they wouldn’t be by the time they caught up to me.

When I showed the image to my husband, I said, “You know what would make this picture better?”  He said, “If we weren’t in it?”   That’s sad–but he’s right.

Asking people to model when their intention is to have fun seems rude.  On the other hand, sometimes people really appreciate the pictures.

However, I imagine my subjects thinking things like, “How long is this going to take?  How much longer is she going to do this?”  I also find that many people think a shot I consider barely OK is wonderful.  It’s hard to imagine asking them to pose significantly longer so I can get a really great shot when they may like my hurried version just as well.

Take the shot in the gallery with the four-year-old inside a bubble in a tank at the aquarium.  He ran in there specifically so I could get a picture.  I told him he was going to need to hold really still (slow shutter speed).  That was more than I could expect from him at that time.  So, I inconvenienced him for a blurry shot of his head.  Not exactly worth the energy for either one of us.

Perhaps I just need to figure out how to be a more artistic opportunist.