May 20

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Photography is All About The Moment… Or is it?

By Dan

May 20, 2019


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We all know that photography is all about the moment. That one brief, yet perfect instant, or as we so fondly know it as, that decisive moment, when the the elements of our composition come together in an exciting and unique way.

It’s the peak of the action, the perfect expression, the split second when all other concerns in the world drop away from our consciousness because, well frankly, there is nothing else at at time that deserves our attention than The Moment.

Unless we’re talking about the light. You know, that rich, warm light that only happens at certain times of day, or when there’s a fire or volcano nearby, that bathes the world so vividly and imparts such a special character to our scenes.

We live for that light. We seek it out. We pull ourselves out of bed and out of the tent at ungodly hours while the rest of the people in our time zone still slumber in dreamland for that light.

We stay outside until dark and trade a reasonable dinner time for the potential of wonderful visual experience. We chase it in order to preserve and capture it as it falls on the shapes, landscapes and people in the world that draw us in.

Absolutely. Photography is all about the light.

Unless it’s about the artistry. Anyone can snap a photo with their camera, but it takes someone with skill and vision to take that jumble of stuff in front of our cameras and arrange it into a simple and appealing composition.

Think about all the creative elements that are required to make a great shot. You need to consider the framing, the position of the subject, the inclusion or exclusion of certain elements in the scene, the color, the shapes, the dynamic qualities of the scene, and of course, you need to consider which lens to use. 

Definitely. I’d say that photography is all about the artistic vision. 

Unless it’s about the equipment. After all, you need good gear to make the best photographs. We’re talking high quality glass, lots of megapixels, high ISO capabilities, low noise. You don’t get that with a cheap camera, it takes…

Money.

Photography is all about the money.

Forget what I said about that other stuff, I was way off base there. If you want to take great photographs, you’ve got to spend lots of money. Like I said, you’ll need a pro camera body, expensive fast lenses that don’t distort, and that let you shoot fast in low light, and probably a couple or a few flashes, wireless triggers, diffusers and other light shaping tools if you’re into that artificial lighting stuff.

Oh, but wait. We’ve all seen people out there with really fancy gear and the kinds of big lenses that most of us will never be able to afford. And you know what? Some of them can’t a picture to save their life. They try to force it. You can’t do that. Sure, you can zoom in on a far away subject, but just snapping a photo at the wrong time is only going to get you so far. 

It takes patience. You’ve got to wait for just the right…

Moment.

See, I was right. Photography is all about the moment. 

Or is it…?

About the author

Hi, I'm Dan Bailey, a 20+ year pro outdoor and adventure photographer, and official FUIJIFILM X-Photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.


As a top rated blogger and author my goal is to help you become a better, more confident and competent photographer, so that you can have as much fun and creative enjoyment as I do.

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Terry Bourk

I have read you new book “Behind the Landscape.” I could not “put it down” meaning that I kept at it because each photo you presented/analyzed was interesting and informative. I am trying to develop an eye for composition (both the scene and the light).

Thank you! The examples you present and the suggestions are very helpful. Purple Mountains, McKinley River and Wonder Lake are fascinating.


Roger Sinclair

You have done it again! Another triumph.

Your generosity to share, the clarity of thought and concise explanation thereof is brilliant. Perhaps I should also mention the beautiful photos and the talent necessary to produce them.

Thank you, Dan.