Today’s post is short and stout. I got the idea for it after an amusing morning at Mesa Arch a couple months ago. I arrived and took a few minutes to find just the right spot to set up my tripod. I wasn’t the first photographer to show up and I wasn’t the last. I took off my pack, mounted my camera to the tripod and settled in to wait for the light. I didn’t count but I’m guessing there were a dozen of us all waiting patiently in the pre-dawn chill, making small talk here and there.
All was pretty mellow until this little dude showed up with fancy gear, a caffeine buzz and a Lowepro pack that probably weighed half as much as him. He flitted all around, looking over our shoulders, snapping handheld shots in the waning darkness with an $8,000 camera. Finally, as the sun crested the La Sal mountains, a cacophony of shutters welcomed the new day.
Little Dude literally never stopped moving. He finally had his camera on a tripod but he’d dash from one spot to another to another and back again, pointing the lens in every imaginable direction while firing the shutter so fast I swear it sounded like a machine gun. The rest of us sat there. Someone would zoom in or out a bit. Someone else ever so carefully recomposed an image on the ground glass of their 4×5. All the while, Little Dude bounced around and probably took 200 photos in 10 minutes.
This was not an isolated incident. I’ve seen it before. I’ve even guided clients who have done the same thing. While fairly comical to watch it really is no way to create masterful images. I understand that it is difficult to settle on one image at a location you may never visit again. Our brains tell us that we need to capture the scene from all angles so that if we never get to come back, at least we’ll have 20 GB worth of photos to show our friends back home.
I just don’t get it. Why not take the time to work the scene, find one amazing composition and just freakin’ nail it? I would rather sit in one spot, with a killer scene in the viewfinder, and enjoy the moment while creating one stunning photo. Call me crazy but isn’t one killer photo better than a thousand terrible ones?