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Storytelling Images

Capturing the Essence Of The Moment allows you to tell a story in an image

“The Essence Of The Moment”—A long time ago, I encountered that statement while reading a magazine article, and it really struck a chord. I made an instantaneous connection to photography and ever since, I keep it in the forefront of my mind whenever I pick up a camera. As a former slide shooter, I was very selective when I pressed the shutter. I’d watch the action unfold and whisper to myself, “Wait… wait… wait… wait… click click click. Digital capture allows me to have a heavier trigger finger, but I still whisper to myself, “Wait…” It’s the way I learned. Regardless of whether you have a lead weight attached to your shutter finger or you pause to wait for just the right moment, the bottom line of capturing The Essence Of The Moment remains the same.

Capturing the Essence Of The Moment allows you to tell a story in the image. It’s a split second frozen in time that lets the mind wander for hours about the events that may have lead up to it, the actual time of capture and what will happen afterwards. When caught at its peak, it creates emotional impact for the viewer. Nailing it requires patience, anticipation, timing and sometimes a little luck. I use this word reluctantly as it tends to lessen the impact of the image. In order for the lucky moment to occur, the photographer still has to be out in the field showing patience, anticipation and timing. Furthermore, I offer you this: Why is it that certain photographers are consistently lucky? And just how many times have those photographers been out in the field and the luck didn’t occur? The bottom line is that an investment in time is essential if you want to capture the essence of the moment.

In order to tell a story with an image, some sort of action or behavior needs to be portrayed. It goes beyond the simple capture of a subject that stands in a location and looks pretty. If it’s a single subject, it should be doing something, be involved in an action, interacting with the environment, displaying a characteristic, etc. If there are multiple subjects, they should be involved in some sort of interaction or there should be some sort of connection going on that ties them together. The challenge with a single subject is it needs to relate to its surroundings and the captured moment has to tell the story. When there are multiple subjects, they also have to relate to their surroundings, interact in a way where they stand out from the background and be caught where the angle clearly allows the story to be told.

Outdoor Photographer Tip Of The Week

As if the above isn’t difficult enough to compile into a single image, the guidelines that govern good light, composition, subject matter, etc. need to fall into place. As you remain patient and anticipate the moment, be cognizant of the rule of thirds. Watch how the light falls on the subject and if necessary, augment it with flash if the situation allows. Make sure the shutter is fast enough to capture the speed of the action. Be aware of the aperture to cover enough depth of field so the subject is sharp. Make sure it’s wide enough to prevent the background from becoming an in focus distraction. Capturing the Essence Of The Moment isn’t something you’ll master in Photo 101, but if you’re up for the challenge, get out in the field and bring home some winners.

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