I went on a nature walk with the Chattanooga Audubon Society Saturday. I ran late leaving because I was so engrossed in a book. When I realized it was time to go, I grabbed my camera with a 100mm macro lens on it.
I haven’t shot macro in a long time. This is in part because it takes a lot of time. To get good macro shots, a tripod is essential and I spend a lot of the time on the ground, sometimes crawling through things I’d rather not crawl through.
But today, I decided to try shooting macro without the drama. No tripod. No garbage bag to lie on. No loupe to check focus. No reflector to bounce light. No baggage to get in my way. This has become my modus operandi of late–just grab the camera and one lens and see what I can get while I’m out doing something else.
Of course, reviewing my photos, I missed my equipment. Standing in awkward positions, hovering over various fungi and tiny plants is not the best way to get sharp images. But was I on a nature walk or was I doing macro photography? I was on a nature walk and I happened to get a few shots I kind of like. I also got a bunch of shots I don’t like at all and a few in between.
A lot of photographers will not share photos they don’t think are really good. No photo is perfect. And at some point, it takes courage to say “this photo is enough” and share it. In fact, it probably requires more courage to share something you think is really good than it does to share something you think is just good enough. After all, if you really believe your work is fantastic and someone knocks it down, it hurts a lot more than if you didn’t think it was that great to begin with.
I find myself wondering if I am a coward hiding behind grab shots rather than putting something up that I really believe is beautifully executed. Sometimes, not putting yourself all-in can indicate a lack of courage. If I’m not all-in, you can’t hurt me–at least not all of me.
On the other hand, to be willing to do things halfway allows time and energy to do more. After all, if I went on the nature walk without my camera, I would still be out shooting and not sitting here pondering the philosophical aspects of deciding to be a “real” photographer vs playing at being one when it’s convenient.
Ultimately, is going halfway an act of cowardice or just setting a limit that allows me to enjoy more? I think the answer lies in how much I want to end up with better images–how passionate I feel about producing an image I’m proud of.
While I’m busy figuring it out, please enjoy what I’ve got.