A word or two about me and what goes through my head.
I like to shoot nature and wildlife. Sometimes I go to the zoo too for the captive animals. You get to know the animals a little, they're often exotic, and not the kind of thing you can see in the wild just anywhere.
The above photo is one that I took at Centennial Lake a couple of years ago. Here's another:
These shots show off something in how I view the world. Anything can be amazing and photo-worthy. Even if it is not what I set out to shoot. This day I was looking for birds, eagles, maybe a landscape image.
I saw the father and son moment happening, the perfect light, and snapped a few shots. A bit later I approached his wife, his mom and we spoke for a while. We traded info, and I eventually sent them a few images and it became (according to them) an awesome Father's Day gift to the dad in the photo and his dad, and the in-law's dad/folks I think.
All that because I went shooting, saw something, took a risk shooting it, took a risk approaching them, etc, etc.
The reason that I decided to post about this now is two fold: 1) I was recently back at Centennial Lake in Maryland (May 2009) and walked fully around the lake, for what turned out to be OK for bird photography but not great, and good for some exercise (it's a couple mile loop). And 2) because as I was wrapping up my walk I passed a different husband and wife and child and decided to take a risk.
Picture this section of the lake:
As I was walking I saw the family of 3 and the dad was taking a photo of his little girl. They were all on the paved pathway, and he was shooting looking down towards his girl, with the pavement in the shot. I made a decision as I was about to walk past them to take a risk.
I said "you should take that shot again of your little girl, but walk down the hill 10 feet first". He had what looked like a nice point and shoot, and I had nearly 8 thousand dollars of lens and camera hanging over my shoulder, and he paused, and as I kept walking, I think it clicked for him, and me, and it was worth it.
As I kept on walking, I looked back a number of times. He did walk down the hill a little, his girl started to follow him and both parents urged her back to the path, so he could try the different angle/shot. Then a moment later his wife sat down next to their child, and that's when it was best for me. Why?
I turned a passing thought, how to take a better image, remove the pavement, add some perspective, change the angle, to their snapshot, and they were receptive even though it was only a sentence or two from me as I kept walking past them, not stopping for a beat, but offering a "knowing" bit of advice. And it was all worth it because even if the shot didn't turn out better (it must have!) I might have imparted something that could stick with them. DON'T JUST TAKE SNAPSHOTS. Take a moment to see it, plan it, reposition, etc. That little girl will only be that little girl once.
What I hope happened but will probably never know is, will that be the image they love the best? Will the message have been lost in long run? IE will that change of angle, of perspective yield for them the single image that sticks with them for ever? IDK, I hope not. I hope it turns in to a great image in a long line of great images as they all get older.
And I thought as I kept walking, should I take a shot of them? Some way to know who I spoke to, to record the moment, and for me I knew I did the right thing. I did NOT take their image. The moment was theirs, not mine, and the risk was just in what I did and it paid off...