DH talks about the “first frame” contest he and other sports shooter would play – in short each shooter would take the first frame on their roll (whatever it was) and whoever had the best action shot (this is sport shooting after all) would “win”.
Now this resonated with me because it touches on a skill that I think is very much related to my whole “taking fewer pictures” rant – and that is anticipating the shot.
The whole “first frame” contest is intriguing because it is a balancing act – snap too early and you might wind up with a boring shot, when there are more interesting ones down the pipe. Snap too late, and you may miss the shot of the day. The skill lies in being able to *predict* when the action will happen, and where it will be – and nail it with your first shot.
Even if you aren’t a sport’s shooter (and I certainly am not), unless you are shooting food or still-lifes, your subjects are most likely dynamic – constantly in motion. People certainly are, from street to fashion photography – they are constantly moving, walking, jumping, expressions changing etc… Even landscapes have a dynamic component – clouds shift, sunlight changes, trees blow, waves crash. Pretty much anything you can think of to photograph is in s constant state of flux.
Part of the art of great photography is learning how to track this ever changing motion and pace your shots accordingly. Just seeing a great photo is not enough – by the time your brain has registered “oh that is a great shot”, sent the message to your hands which then have to aim the camera, focus and release the shutter, – chances are you’ve already missed “the decisive moment”. The trick is to *know* when that moment *is about to happen*, so you are prepared – when “the shot” occurs you are already squeezing the shutter – without even having to think about it. This applies from everything from anticipating when the sun will peek out from behind a cloud to when a model will turn her (or his) head to *just* the right spot – then *bam* you nail it.
Now I don’t claim to be an expert at this by any means, but I feel that it is a fundamental skill in the Art of photography that is in danger of falling by the wayside as more and more photographers fall back on the 10fps machine gun approach. For me it is yet another thing that I try and practice every time I shoot, to make myself a better photographer.
Just more random musings…