Some time ago, I went to as many of my son’s high school hockey games as I could, always bringing my first SLR camera, a Pentax Spotmatic with a 135mm f/2.8 lens. I shot Kodak Kodacolor back then, an ISO 100 film. Think about that for a minute, ISO 100.
At the time, the early DSLRs were available and way to expensive for me to own, so I set the focus on infinity, opened up the aperture to f/2.8, pushed the shutter as fast as I dared using the match meter to guess exposure and paid attention to what was happening on the ice. Those were cold rinks, but it didn’t matter much to me as I cocked the shutter wearing fingerless gloves, eye pressed to the viewfinder when I sensed something special was about to happen. I seem to recall that I used a 36 exposure roll for each game. Think about that for a moment – 36 exposures.
The result was 200 images over three seasons that eventually were scanned into DNG files and post processed using Lightroom. This photograph, from 2000, remains my favorite because of the crowd in the background and the fact that Greg was about to strip #7 of the puck and wrap around the net to score.
Today’s good photographs are tomorrow’s great photographs.
“I think the key word here is experience: you can’t photograph what you don’t experience. This applies in every context around the world. You can’t re-tell a story you’ve not first heard and responded to. You can’t venture an opinion on something you’ve not had more than an outside look at.”
~ from Safari, a Monograph, David duChemin,
If you would like a free copy of this e-book, act quickly.
For any given event, I would rather have just one great photograph to print, frame, and hang than a large collection of photographs that are merely “meh.” Of course, getting that one great photograph is the challenge, but once you have it, the rest of the day is icing on a delicious cake. We all want to make a photograph that makes our heart beat faster, that combines light, gesture, and color and that makes you realize when you see it how damned lucky you were to be there. Usually, I know right before the shutter clicks that I might, just might, have something very special. Look, this doesn’t happen every time I go out, so when it occurs, I get a chill down my spine and then I start worrying. That’s also known as the photographers’ prayer:
Please, dear Lord, don’t let me screw this up!
This is that photograph from the 2015 RI Air Show.
We can help you learn how to create photographs that make your heart beat faster. See our schedule of classes to see what’s coming up next and let us know if there is something you want to learn or photograph that we don’t have scheduled.
There are plans and there is what happens. The plan was to work up to a sunset photo with the CEO of Fit University. Instead of reasonable spring temperature and the conclusion of a beautiful day as my friend and photographer Ashley Richer had counted on, we had deep cloud cover and a high wind that made the cool temperatures along the exposed coast feel like winter. This was not in our plan. Anyone with common sense would have rescheduled, but make up had been done expertly done by Molly Entin Stach and there was no turning back.
If Sarah had not been such a good sport, I would never have made this photograph. She walked barefoot to the crumbling retaining wall and did a dozen yoga poses on it with the wind battering here. When the afternoon’s only moment of sunshine occurred and she saluted it, I was ready. There is a lesson here some where about being there, being ready and changing your plan to match what is in front of you. In this case, a dramatic ocean and a wonderful model who was willing to freeze her feet to get the photographs she wanted.
I am always happy to work with a great model in any condition. Because of the high wind, I worked with an on camera speed light.
The first photograph was made using a camera with a full format sensor (Nikon D700) and closely represents what I saw with my eyes looking down the hallway. The second as made using a camera with a crop sensor (Nikon D90) and has the illusion of increasing magnification when, in fact it is just an in camera crop caused by the smaller size of the sensor that used the center portion of the lens. I stood in the same spot for both images and used the same lens on both cameras.