I have been into photography for as long as I can remember. I remember taking a trip to Washington DC during my high school years and spending all of my extra cash on film. (I shot over 30 rolls on that trip and didn’t get most of them developed because I couldn’t afford it!)
For a graduation gift, my mom and dad bought me an upscale Polaroid camera that had removable filters! But the photography bug really hit me when I got my first SLR almost 15 years ago. Ruth and I were on a trip celebrating our anniversary and we forgot to bring a camera along. A quick run to Wal-Mart was necessary and the only camera they had in stock was a Canon Rebel film camera. (remember those? Andre Agassi used to do the advertising for them.)
This is where I had my first real experience with the excitement of the moment over-riding thinking. Ruth and I were hiking through the woods when we spotter a red-headed woodpecker just off the path. As I had this new SLR I really wanted a picture. So off I go chasing this stupid bird trying to get close enough to get a photo. It must have been a comical sight for my wife as I would sneak up to the bird and just as I would raise the camera the bird would scoot off. This went on for nearly 30 minutes before I finally got the image I thought I wanted (as it turns out, the bird wound up a very very small part of the frame).
Fast forward a couple of years and a couple of camera bodies later. Ruth and I were hiking to Hemlock Falls in North Georgia. These falls are fairly small, dropping only about 50 feet, but because they come through a stand of hemlock pines you don’t see the water upstream. And here comes the excitement again…. If I can just stand in the stream, I can shoot the falls from the water and get their reflection in the pool. Traipsing out into the water, I fail to notice that the bottom is covered with a fine green moss that might as well been ice. Bringing the camera to my eye I perform a pedial-cranial inversion (i.e. my feel and head decided to trade places RIGHT NOW!) Fortunately I wasn’t hurt and Ruth tells me that I wrapped around the camera as I was falling. I hadn’t thought at all! If I had gotten hurt, there was no way Ruth would be able to carry me out..
And I wish I could say these are the only examples of this. I have many other stories that would take days to tell. However, these do relate to the photo posted, but in a different way.
Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for work, I noticed a wonderful morning light on our camellia bushes. Grabbing the camera and a brand new lens I went outside in the frigid air to capture the light on the flowers. Trying to work quickly because of the changing light and the freezing hands, I set the camera up and started snapping away. And again, excitement bites me as I forgot to reset the camera settings from the night before and I underexposed every image! While I kind of like the moodiness of this image, it is not what I had in mind!
So a lesson to all of you out there, when excitement strikes… Take a deep breath and THINK about what your going to do. It might save you broken bones or bad images!