When You Think You Have Your Shot…Shoot One More.

I have been extremely busy working on my dissertation and have not had the opportunity to dust-off the camera bag. I fear this will be the case until early December but eventually I will need a break so I will try to get out some. I know I am missing some excellent photo opportunities right now but I simply have to keep my priorities in line. However, I still have some useful information that I want to share so I have pulled a couple of images from the files to illustrate a key point I often make during a photo presentation. That point is…you need to “keep shooting.”

The obvious to take from this point is that you have to go out frequently, learning to shoot in changing light, shooting different subjects as often as possible. However, “keep shooting” also means “don’t stop.” Too often, photographers see a subject, snap the shutter, then move on in search of the next subject. That’s a terrible mistake that most of us have been guilty of making at one point or another. I ask you though, what’s the rush? If you have a subject in great light then you need to work the shot. Once you are satisfied with the first image, change your perspective, change your lens, change something but challenge yourself to capture the subject in a new way.

The two images below are an excellent example of what I am saying in this post. While competing in one of the past Valley Land Fund photo competitions, I set out to capture some macro shots of insects. Walking through the brush I noticed this Robber Fly sitting on a twig. I had my 180mm macro lens mounted on my camera so I lowered my tripod legs and captured the full-body profile image. I took multiple shots, each one inching closer and closer until I had the frame-filling profile highlighted here. This was the shot that I wanted and looking at the image on camera, I knew I had a sharp one.

Giant Robber Fly. Canon 1DMkII | 180/3.5 macro | f18 | ISO 400.

In the past, I would have been satisfied, packed up my gear, and moved on. However, I realized that this robber fly was quite a cooperative subject. On more than one occasion, it flew off the twig, then came right back to it. So, I pulled out my extension tubes and tried to get a tight portrait, wanting to show as much detail as I could. I used a 10mm tube, then added a 20mm tube, and inched the camera as close as I could. The result is the image you see below…a face only a mother could love.

Giant Robber Fly (portrait). Canon 1DMkII | 180/3.5 macro | Kenko 10 + 20 mm extension tubes | ISO 400.

Both of these images placed in the Insects category. The profile shot above placed 3rd, while the portrait placed 2nd. The portrait image only happened because somewhere in my past, I read an article where the photographer suggested you “work the image.” I internalized that as “keep shooting” and have been sharing it with others every time I speak.

Until next time….you guessed it….keep shooting. 🙂  –KEVIN