Photography and Patience

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by Brewster, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bruce_l_snell/6078399414/" title="P3188758 - V2 by brucelsnell, on Flickr">"500" height="333" alt="P3188758 - V2"></a>

    I think one of the hardest things to learn as a photographer is patience. There seems to be a common belief among non-photographers that when pros are out shooting they are constantly bombarded with crazy/cool photo ops. I think that mindset also comes into the art form with new photographers. They believe they must have every lens and be ready for anything, because anything could happen at any moment! Well, after over 20 years as a pro (and now happily retired) I can say with complete confidence that it simply ain't so. Great shots come from knowing your subject, knowing your gear (simple is better) and a big dose of patience.

    I was in Belize about a year and a half ago shooting a documentary series for my church. During one of our trips to rural schools in the area, we witnessed the most beautiful blue classrooms. While the others in our group were walking about the area, I slipped away to shoot one of these brightly colored buildings. I found a composition that worked with the door, window and stripes. At this point I could have snapped the shutter, but I wanted something in the frame to add interest. The teacher was moving around, gesturing to the students so I waited for him to enter the opening in the doorway. He stood in the "target" spot maybe two or three times. Now I wanted a gesture, so I waited. My patience paid off and I was able to shoot a frame of the teacher in the doorway frame in a pleasing silhouette.

    Patience is the key. Next time you view a photograph of an awesome moment, know that the photographer probably didn't just happen upon this great scene, but had planned ahead, staked out a position and waited for the right moment to click the shutter.
     
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  2. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I'd have probably framed the same scene, taken about 10 snaps as he moved into and out of the frame. And then I'd have picked the best one. I might or might not have gotten that moment. But I probably wouldn't have been willing to hang out in the same spot for more than a few minutes...

    -Ray
     
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  3. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 Top Veteran

    892
    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
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  4. Bruce, nice image. The silhouette of the teacher looks great framed by the bright blue building.

    Mauve, I've never seen that blog post that before, but I think it perfectly describes the method that I tend to favour now. I guess though that you have decide how long you want to fish in each spot, lest other opportunities pass you by.
     
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I think the key is there's more than one way to skin a cat. When I go out street shooting, I'll usually find a few locations like this one where I just camp out for a while, wait for people to somehow animate the scene, and take several shots as they do. Then pick the best of the bunch. But I ALSO spend a lot of time walking and looking for things to develop and being ready to shoot at a moment's notice. I've plenty of successes and failures with both methods! One is far more active than the other. Patience is the key virtue in one and would be a hinderance in the other!

    -Ray
     
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  6. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Very nice image Bruce, well worth waiting for. Waiting is not my cup of tea. Here are a few that I did take my time on.

    I waited half the night for this shot:
    28693895_rHzxd-XL-1.

    This took around an hour:
    181889628_pJTTe-X2-2.

    This shot took all day. I had a Mantis in a backyard Sunflower, all day I kept checking in on the Mantis until he poked his head up and said "Howdy":
    420202992_YZaQw-L-1.

    Usually I haven't any patience, thinking that what's around the corner may be better than waiting for a bird in the hand. There are times when waiting pays off. I keep thinking about Andel Adams on one of his cross country trips he decided not to wait for any photograph. If the photo was there he'd stop and snap ... if a potential photo was there he'd keep driving.

    Two different schools of thought, Move or Wait. For moi, the lesson to learn I think is refining one's instincts and sixth sense in determining/calculating when one should wait and when one should move on.

    G
     
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  7. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Overall, some really great shots in this thread, i think supporting the OPs comment.
     
  8. I think the key to the patient approach is to avoid being blinkered. Situational awareness: the ability to focus on one spot but remain aware of what's happening around you.


    Waiting...

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/55915417@N08/5526022470/" title="OEP1-P3122186-P2R Olympus Pen E-P1 Brisbane - Street by Nic (Luckypenguin), on Flickr"> 5526022470_726f01f29e_z. "426" height="640" alt="OEP1-P3122186-P2R Olympus Pen E-P1 Brisbane - Street"></a>

    ...waiting...

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/55915417@N08/5526022648/" title="OEP1-P3122184-P5R Olympus Pen E-P1 Brisbane - Street by Nic (Luckypenguin), on Flickr"> 5526022648_19c3c68b13_z. "640" height="360" alt="OEP1-P3122184-P5R Olympus Pen E-P1 Brisbane - Street"></a>

    ...waiting...

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/55915417@N08/5698457455/" title="C350D-IMG_1882-PR Canon EOS 350D Thamel Kathmandu Nepal - Travel by Nic (Luckypenguin), on Flickr">"640" height="427" alt="C350D-IMG_1882-PR Canon EOS 350D Thamel Kathmandu Nepal - Travel"></a>

    ...waiting...

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/55915417@N08/6035103174/" title="OEP1-P8113183-PR Olympus Pen E-P1 Brisbane - Street by Nic (Luckypenguin), on Flickr"> 6035103174_4bcf3ab858_z. "640" height="480" alt="OEP1-P8113183-PR Olympus Pen E-P1 Brisbane - Street"></a>

    ...not waiting!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/55915417@N08/5651410039/" title="C350D-IMG_0269-PR Canon EOS 350D Phnom Penh Cambodia - Travel by Nic (Luckypenguin), on Flickr">"640" height="427" alt="C350D-IMG_0269-PR Canon EOS 350D Phnom Penh Cambodia - Travel"></a>
     
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  9. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 Top Veteran

    892
    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    This one is striking. The others are good, too, but not as smashing as this one is.

    Cheers,
     
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  10. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    I echo Mauve ... a very interesting image.

    G
     
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