Because I Was There

In order to get a great shot, you have to spend time in the field.
You enjoy spending time on the Outdoor Photographer website. You clicked on this Tip of the Week. You obviously began to read it as you’re taking in these words. It’s plain to see you’re extremely intelligent, enthusiastic, dedicated and want to learn more about photography or else you wouldn’t be reading this. Good for you. What I’m about to share is one of the most rudimentary concepts when it comes to photography, so why does it so often get lost in the shuffle?

Thankfully I’ve accumulated some images that have brought success. When I show them I often get asked, “How did you get that shot?” Not intending to be sarcastic, I sometimes respond, “Because I was there.” Think about it - if I wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have gotten the photo. I know what the person is implying, but it does come down to needing to be at a given location to capture the magical happening. A parallel question I love to answer is, “What’s the best camera?” My answer is, “The one that’s with you.” It may mean using a cell phone, but face it - if you don’t have a camera, you can’t capture the image and if you’re not there to capture it, you won’t get the photo.

Outdoor Photographer Tip Of The Week

Found above is a lot of rhetoric but there is a point to it. In order to get a great shot, you have to spend time in the field. Every photographer reading this is capable of getting photos that make a viewer ask, “How did you get that shot?” The reason why you don’t have the one I have is because I was there and you weren’t standing next to me. Unless you’re willing to invest time and effort, it can’t happen. It’s true that rules of composition must be applied and you may see it a bit differently, but you still need to be there.

Outdoor Photographer Tip Of The Week

A number of photographers tell stories about how lucky they were to have been there when something great occurred. Rather than attributing it to luck, think about giving yourself credit that you researched when you should be there, you were prepared for the situation, and you knew what to do if something big did unfold. Photographers are told how lucky they are to capture a given image. I pose this question to you - why is it that some photographers are consistently more “lucky” than others? Could it have anything to do with the fact they knew where and when to be at a given spot and they were there?

Besides being there, having patience is important so if the “lucky” event unfolds, you waited there to capture it. If your impatience gets to you and you pack it in, even though you were there part of the time, you weren’t there for the finale. With all the above said, I realize it’s not practical to always wait for the big moment and it’s impossible to be everywhere something good occurs, but I want to plant a seed in each of your heads to get out more often and to stay out longer to give yourself the opportunity to capture those photos that make others say, “How did you get that shot?”

Visit www.russburdenphotography.com

8 Comments

    I read this article as my husband and I were sitting at the airport getting ready to travel. It was just a short little vacation to go visit some friends and I didn’t even bring my camera. As we were flying, it was announced that we had to navigate around some bad weather. I captured a few beautiful shots just with my phone camera. I’m not sure I would have thought about using it had I not read this article. I probably would have been crying that I didn’t bring my camera and missed out on capturing anything at all!!

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