Thursday, December 27, 2007

Making Luck

While working on the image for the previous post, I was thinking to myself how lucky I have been in capturing the images I have, then it occurred to me that I'm a lot luckier than I used to be, and that generated thoughts about how to become lucky.

Here's my thoughts on how to get 'lucky'!

1) Cameras that sit in bags, photographers who never go shooting, cannot have any good luck at all - so get out and use the damn thing!

2) Be there at the right time - good lighting can be partially luck, but it's also being there when there is at least the possibility of good light. Sleeping in till the odds are good that by the time you get to the scene, you are going to be working around harsh vertical light with short shadows. It's almost impossible to tell what the lighting is going to be like 20 miles and two hours away from now, with the possible exception of a clear sky sunrise - so be prepared to be lucky. Get there early in the day. Put the effort in and get lucky.

3) Be prepared to flexible - try to avoid preconceived ideas of what image you are going to get - the day may not be right for that image, but perhaps it's perfect for something else and if you can only think of the original plan...

4) With modern reliable equipment, auto exposure, auto focus, good tripods etc., screwing up technically is just not acceptable. If you are unlucky in that the one good image is the one which is out of focus, then spend some time analyzing where you are going wrong and come up with a plan to fix it and follow through on the plan, including lots of practice. Some kinds of photography you simply cannot expect to get things technically right every time - say the focus in a football game, but you can sure practice and increase your percentages.

5) Although I like the concept of previsualization, truth is not even Ansel could predict which images were going to hold up over time. This means that it pays to give yourself options. Maybe you have the camera in the absolutely ideal spot, but perhaps later you will realize that 3 inches to the right would have been better. Work the scene - actually go about earning your successes, make your own luck.

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