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Missed Shot that Haunts

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by BobBill, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    The thread in the Front Page forum, re why we take pictures, dredged-up the question of missed pictures.

    Presumably, all who take photo work seriously have a memory of one shot not taken, accompanied with the nagging ache, like a lost love, that never seems to wither.

    Stories here?
  2. cucco

    cucco Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2010
    I'll jump in with the first reply....(yay!)

    So, I was hiking in southern Alaska. I had travelled there for business and took my Minolta 7D and a 24-70 and 50-500. I didn't have any room for a good tripod, so I picked up a $29 special at the local department store while there. Given the size of the lenses and the flimsiness of the tripod, I had to do most of my tripod-stabilized shots using the self-timer. (If I depressed the shutter while the camera was on this tripod, it would shake for a good 5 seconds before it settled down).

    I had just done a few landscape shots on the tripod and unmounted the camera. As I began walking away, I heard a thud behind me. The biggest bald eagle I've ever seen landed about 10-12 feet behind me and stared right at me! I had the 50-500 on the body and great light, so I could have shot some of the most amazing closeups of a truly regal bird! That bird, by the way, was in NO way threatened by me. She just gazed at me knowing that if I made the wrong move, her talons could have rearranged every part of my body.

    So, framed the first picture and have a full frame shot of the bird's head. I snapped the shutter and I hear "beep, beep, beep, beep." At this point, I let out an expletive and yanked the camera away to tweak the setting. Apparently the bird didn't care for this and she promptly flew away. I did get a beautiful shot of the ground though as I fumbled for the settings, muttering loudly!
    • Like Like x 1
  3. cucco

    cucco Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2010
    I've got another one, so I'll go for the second reply too!

    My wife and I were hiking on the Appalachian Trail. We both had Minolta 7D bodies. We both had fast zooms on our cameras and got some great shots of typical eastern US woodland creatures. As we were walking off of one of the trails, we came into a clearing. At the other side of the clearing (about 30 feet away) was an adolescent black bear munching away on lunch. It startled the heck out of us and we startled the heck out of it. As I told my wife to slowly back away, she turned tail and RAN. Loudly!

    Knowing that, when being chased by a bear, you don't have to be the fastest, you just have to be faster than the slowest, I began hot pursuit of my wife. The bear decided we were bad news from the start and it ran in the opposite direction.

    I do wish that we had calmly raised up our cameras and gotten a couple great shots of this beautiful bear in its natural habitat, but I'm also grateful that we have the ability to walk and chew solid foods still too!
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    Ahhh, the dreaded I-forgot-I-set-it-on-self-timer-mode. Who hasn't had one of these? :)  Nice one, cucco.:wink:
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I've missed far more than I've captured, so I can't say I remember the specifics. But possibly the best photograph I ever took I no longer have in any form other than memory and THAT's the one that got away in my mind. It was a B&W from my college days. I was enthralled with Cartier-Bresson who we'd just spent a couple of class sessions on. And I was driving around in a van with a friend and shooting when I got the chance. We were parked on a really nice old street in Tacoma (yes, there are a few) and I think he was in someone's house taking care of some sort of business. Sitting in the van, I noticed the reflection in the side mirror (BIG side mirror, big van, etc) of a really mysterious looking guy in a long coat with some sort of top hat. And the classic architecture (both in the mirror and to the front beyond it) and the light and the guy walking toward me in the mirror - everything IN and BEYOND the mirror meshed together perfectly) was just the perfect "decisive moment" and I nailed it. Squeezed off four or five shots from my Pentax K-1000 over a few seconds and one of them was just perfect. And there was even a perfect little bit of lens flare that added to the mystery and gave it even more character. I printed it until I got it just exactly right, everyone who ever saw it LOVED it, I can do no better. I think I did extremely well in that class and I'd have to give most of the credit to that shot, which showed much more potential than I've realized since.

    It was mounted on a board. I didn't even think about framing stuff in those days. And somewhere along the line as a stupid college student, I lost the neg. And the print and board it was on got pretty ratty looking over time so at some point it went into storage instead of on a wall once I was married and had a "proper" place to live. And somewhere along the line, it just disappeared. And now I don't have a negative or a print or even a picture of it hanging on a wall in some OTHER picture. Its just gone.

    My only really serious and lasting photographic regret...

    I remember a few other long lost shots from those days, but I can't say I miss 'em. THAT one I miss. What I wouldn't give for the negative of that baby....

  6. jonbly

    jonbly Mu-43 Rookie

    May 20, 2010
    The island of Jura, 2003. It's pissing it down. My car's broken, and I've wasted most of my only day there arranging for a tow truck from Oban to meet me at the end of the double ferry trip back to the Scottish mainland. So I study the map, throw on my hat and raincoat, and trudge uphill into the forest.

    Jura forest is pretty odd. It was planted many years earlier with fast-growing pines with the intent to start a timber business... but something went awry with the plan and the trees were never cut down (though there was some evidence of logging when I was there... indeed, the whole forest could be gone today, for all I know). So the trees are too close together for their size, and the forest floor is an impenetrable mess of fallen trees, stumps, branches and a deep mat of pine needles, turned to mulch by the years. So the only sane way to move around is to follow the muddy 'roads'. After about an hour, I'm cold, tired and bored, so I turn back.

    And there's a deer standing there watching me. A proper, wild deer with antlers. Suddenly the whole day is worthwhile. I reach for my camera bag and open it. The deer twitches. I slide the camera out, lose the lens cap, switch it on and... BEEP. And the deer is gone.

  7. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    When we were driving around Cairo, there were donkey-pulled carts in among the cars on the road and the buses. We were alongside such a cart, filled to capacity several layers deep with the roundest watermelons I'd ever seen. There was only the slightest area for a driver to sit (it was an open cart with barely any front and no sides) and the wife was sitting on the bed of the cart. The wind gusted, blowing one end of her bright blue hijab away. She tried to hold onto the cart with one hand and adjust her scarf with the other. While I'd have loved to have taken a picture of that, it would have been disrespectful to do so, so I did not.
  8. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    I'm absolutely kicking myself about this one.
    This was the last day of looking after Homer for 2 weeks. There were very few opportunities to be out in the garden.
    I got some good photos of him but this would have been the best, and while not the greatest photo ever, would have been very nice indeed.
    In faffing about with my gorrilapod, and unsighted of the screen, a darn chop off.

  9. BobBill

    BobBill Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 29, 2010
    MN USA
    Bob Hively-Johnson
    Nissed Shot Blues

    It is fitting I should enter my haunt.

    In car with wifey, who is not camera soul, driving east on warm Sunday morn, out in the country just east of Abbotsford, WI, on a four-lane, fenced on each side. A gravel access road on each side, just inside the low fences.

    Off to left are six young (12-14) Amish girls, in Sunday best, riding east also, perfectly abreast, upon old coaster brake cruiser bikes on that gavel country road.

    They were dressed in beautiful home-sewn pastel pinafore dresses, soft, pastel yellows, pinks, blues, greens, white aprons and wee head veils, with the wind blowing their apron ties and dresses back slightly. The sun was shining in their faces, the right angle.

    The girls were all smiles and laughing, as young girls might do but Amish girls rarely seen doing. No cares, free, likely on the way to church. Not the usually drab blue cloth and bonnets. The contrasts are difficult to describe.

    I wanted to dash up the road and swing in and take a picture through the fence with a long lens, but wife suggested it would be wrong to take their picture as they believe pics are craven, and it might ruin their happy freedom.

    I could have taken the pic surreptitiously but passed the opportunity.

    That missed moment still haunts. It was so telling, they were so beautiful, everything was there, but my temerity; and I am a non-believer.
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