Missed opportunities

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by peter_daalder, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. My day job requires me to be on the road for about six hours every
    working day. Although I cover much of the same ground, every day
    delivers different weather and lighting conditions.<br>During most of
    this continuous "visual stimulation", I "see" many photographic
    opportunities. Unfortunately, I don't always get around to realising
    those "opportunities" through the camera - soon after.<br>Often (as
    happened today), human activity/intervention prevents the recording of
    a particular scene in the "best" possible light. <br>Does this happen
    to many of you? And when it does, are you content by just being
    "philosophical" about it...?
  2. I'm not content to just be philisophical about it. I drive an hour one way to work and it drains my soul and contributes to an uninspired stupor sometimes. And then on other days, I'm happy to have the drive past the lake and glad for whatever season it currently is. Happy to just be alive. One good thing though is that it gets you familiar with what is static and what you can or cant come back for to get a photo, so that helps too.
  3. Does this happen to many of you? And when it does, are you content by just being "philosophical" about it...?
    It happens to me frequently. Worrying about missed opportunities is a certain path to madness. I direct my energies toward the opportunities I can take advantage of.
  4. I once read a book by Louis Peek who was a British freelance photographer in the 'fifties and 'sixties. He suggested that when something like that happened you should make a written note of it in a diary, on the basis that lighting effects are cyclical and what you miss one year you might catch the next. I was impressed by the idea but am not the sort of person to put it into practice. Perhaps others are, though.
  5. When I see it, and I mean something that really speaks to me, I force myself to try to get it. So I turn around and take the picture. Even if it means inconveniencing everyone else. You need to listen to that voice.
  6. when asked if he regretted missing pictures while he was reloading his camera, garry winogrand said (paraphrasing): there are no pictures when i'm reloading.

    similarly, there are no "opportunities" when you are not actively -- with complete concentration of mind and body (or the best you can manage) -- making pictures. the opportunities that sometimes lead to good images are created by the photographter's effort and preparedness.

    use those times when you are doing something other than photographing -- but still seeing -- as a visual notebook. the ideas will work their way into your images. just seeing, without recording with some external device, can be a useful excercise.

    eventually, with much practice, you will reach a state in which you will see everything and nothing. total blankness. nirvana. then some bastard will step into your frame at the decisive moment.

    back to the dojo.
  7. It is an interesting question because I think it concerns us all. My personal experience is that the more I learn by doing in the field of photography the more I "see". I think that taking photos, like painting, drawing or doing other visual arts make you observe the world in a different way. In my case what I have learned (dare I say it?) about composition by studying photos or what I have learned by working on photos for example in Photoshop have changed drastically my capacity of seeing things in nature, streets or observing people and events. This is experienced, at least by me, whether I have a camera or not or whether I take a photo or not. What the camera adds to such experiences is of course the RAW data that makes it possible to "follow up" by translating the experience into a photo.

    One could say that life is significantly more beautiful and exciting to live when you have a tool like photography to interpret and to translate it into some kind active observation and not merely a feeling. Big words, I know, but it is difficult to express such experiences. I�m however sure that many of you have the same impression. Frustration of not taking a specific scene is secondary to me.

  8. Peter, as a painter, I can tell you that what you describe is the" Art as life "philosophy.
    Artists are always sharpening their visual skills where ever they are. A favorite game my
    daughter and I play ( she is 16 and loves photography) is the 'Whats the best shot here'
    one. She may not have her camera with her, but she is always looking, finding the most
    interesting shot, no matter where she is. Sometimes these adventures can lead to new
    insights and awareness and maybe future pictures. Training the eye is fun and the camera
    is not always necessary. Even if people intrude, it is good to remember that fate always
    plays a role and perhaps a new creative potential in the scene has been given to you. I
    think that what people really get from the Arts in general is the feeling of being alive. All
    Art is based in our sensuality. Pealing back the visual layers before you and interpreting
    your own vision is really what its about for the creative person. Anders is wise in his
    understanding of how his medium fullfills is visual experiences. So if the 'moment' is
    interupted , don't be philosophical . Be active. Just feel that active participation in the
    wonders around you is sufficient. Be alive to life. Hips
  9. When I recognize missed photo opportunities it indicates I'm awake and alive - the oposite of zombie mode (after double shifts and similar or worse).

    Like others I try to remember a few of these subjects for these depressive moments when one gets told to go out and burn some film.

    I accept rushing to jobs as a excuse for not photographing but leisure trips through beautiful landscapes together with non-photographers give me a hard time.

    Maybe some train trip will encourage me to fix my motorbike.

    I'm sure that there will always be missed shots; at least of the kind "it would look better on LF than on 35mm behind a zoom". But well carrying your gear for days without spotting anything worthy to capture is by far worse than missed shots.
  10. you cant get every shot so i guess you got to be philosophical about the ones you miss. makes me want to try harder next time
  11. Only to a point: if I see something more than once or twice, e.g. particular light on some particular thing, I make myself take the camera and find where I can pull off and go shoot it

    In this city (Charlotte NC, USA) the place could easily be bulldozed and developed tomorrow
  12. Thanks to all of you, for your thoughtful responses. <br>I think that the paraphrased Garry Winogrand quote summed it up very nicely indeed. Cheers,
  13. "...there are no pictures when i'm reloading..."

    Peter - I find the opposite is true for me. When I have no camera with me I often see more opportunities. I think it's because when I have my camera with me I'm looking FOR things, without the camera I'm looking AT things. Thus, I need to start looking AT things and opportunities will come.
  14. "are you content by just being "philosophical" about it...?"
    In a manner, yes. I don't get worked up about it, but I will also stop when something isn't perfect ('cause you never know). If a particular spot has appeal one day and I can't stop, I'll stop the next chance I get and frequently find something that works just great, despite the fact that it's not what I expected. You can't know everything. It could be that had you stopped at the "perfect" moment to look closely, what you anticipated was available (at 35kph from 50ft away) actually wasn't what you hoped it would be at f8 and 6ft... t
  15. I don't think it's healthy to worry about missed opportunities. There are always missed shots - what I try to do is make the most out of the shots that I do get. And not worry about the situations where I'm not prepared.
  16. you know what really bites? driving on the interstate and seeing a great shot and knowing and thinking to yourself...."I will never be able to stand on that road and get that shot......s**t!!!!
  17. The view of Boston from the Tobin bridge is spectacularly varying and beautiful. Of course, there is no chance one could take decent pics from there ... and not get arrested ... ;-)

    One thing is that often I see a good photo opportunity, with good light making a big part of it, and when I get my cameras and return to the site, the light has changed, along with the mood of the photo. But I guess that's just a part of the sport.
  18. I've enjoyed the last few additional comments - thank you.<br> Especially so, since my original question made mention of being on the road for a good part of the day. <br>With all of this "looking around", has anyone ever had a close shave in their vehicle?<br>I've nearly run off the road a couple of times and think that Tom's example of 35kph is very conservative. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he got booked for driving too slow :)
  19. About the photo in Boston that would get you arrested - There are two photos that I plan
    to take one day along the M4 in Wales. One is from the Severn Bridge and I think it would
    be very hard to stop anywhere near. I have had a look and you can walk to it, but it would
    be a long walk and teh photo isn;'t that good really. The other is from where the motorway
    passes high on stilts through the approaches to (I think) Swansea. Now it would be dificult
    to do it, but when I have a friend in teh car wth me one day and I drive past it in the
    daytime, I intend to have my camera attached to tripod and set to the right settings before
    I stop. I will get there, pull onto hard shoulder, flip hood of my car and then whilst
    pretending I am broken down for two minutes, set up tripod and snap the shot. It
    shouldn't be too hard - I've bene meaning to take it for a year or two.
  20. If you wan't to express yourself it's of equal importance to recognize and think about the
    shots you DON'T need to take in order to express the thing you wan't to express, instead
    of only recognizing and thinking about the shot's you do wan't to take.

    " I carried an 8-by-10 to the top of a mountain in Estes Park and never took a picture."
    Harry Callahan
  21. I swear I'm going to get a utility cart that holds all my cabin cleaning supplies and the bag with my Rebel XT. We run a campground, and it never fails, when I'm rushed to clean cabins between bookings I'll see the most interesting things. Some examples: a waterspout coming lazily down the lake. 2 families of chickadees having a 10-minute territory war, sitting on branches inches away from each other, beaks wide open and screaming at each other. A spider wasp grappling a big spider, the two of them rolling across the deck for about 4 minutes. A male hummingbird buzzing back and forth doing his "swing dance" to impress a female, who sat and watched from a branch just a couple feet away from me, both of them too preoccupied to be bothered by my presence. It never fails that the neatest stuff happens while I'm working, and at a time when I can't drop what I'm doing to run for the camera. And mornings when I have some appointment that I "have" to leave for town? Beautiful mist out on the lake with a red or gold sky. And no, I'm not content to just be "philosophical" about it, although if I am caught without the camera, I do enjoy the little scene that's unfolding. Murphy's Law prevails, when I do have the time to wander about with the camera, I don't find the type of exciting subjects that cross my path when I'm otherwise occupied.
  22. "I will get there, pull onto hard shoulder, flip hood of my car and then whilst pretending I am broken down for two minutes, set up tripod and snap the shot."

    Take a friend with you, as in: "My friend was taking so long to fix the car that I just thought I'd take a photograph."

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