View Full Version : Missed opportunities
Having read your piece in this week's amateur pornographer (see, I do read it sometimes :p ), it really resonated with me. If I think back to some of the things I missed:-
Neltner mountain refuge in the high Atlas - why did I not take even one interior shot?Nepal - only a handful of people shots in 4 weeks - idiot!Dallas - not one pic of those towering canyons (skyscrapers), or the grassy knoll - unbelievable!Sydney - only took one camera (XA) that I knew was slightly faulty - criminal!!Anyway, it set me to thinking about the places that I have not yet been, and the shots that I would like to come back with. For example:-
Galapogos - Lonely George & his haremPeru - Match Pichu at dawn, with a nice atmospheric mistLhasa - prayer flags and monksYou get the idea...
Anyway - the point of this post - where do you really want to go and what would you photograph?
Like a lot of people, traveling or a change of scenery tends to get me inspired to take photos.
But lately I'm just trying to carry a camera with me always and to find a small interesting thing here or there in my daily everyday life. They are fleeting...
In fact many of my "missed opportunities" involve my everyday life. For example i lived in a fabulous, old (1783) water mill in England that had been converted to a home, but in several years of living there I hardly took any pictures of the place or the people I shared it with. Now I have only my fading memories.
When I was 20 years old I traveled through Africa for 7 months with a friend. In seven months I shot 6 rolls of film (with a little P&S film camera). At the time, I remember thinking how silly people looked with a camera constantly glued to their face (even worse were those with video cameras). It seemed to me that these people never really experienced their trips. They saw everything through a viewfinder.
Obviously, my views have changed somewhat since then. When I do manage to get back to Africa, I will most certainly take more photographs than I did the last time around. But, although I took very few photographs when I was last there, and although my photographic skills were far from refined, I do notice that most of the photographs I took have real meaning. So I think that my initial reaction to those who shot roll upon roll upon roll of film was, at least in part, correct. Whenever I travel and plan to stay in a location for a period of time, I try to put my camera away for the first while so that I can get a feel for the place in which I am staying. If you begin by getting a real sense of what you want to photograph, the images that you do make will obviously be much better than if you just start snapping away.
All that said though, I really do wish that I had shot more film when I was in Africa.:bang:
I would always travel with 2 6x6 cameras (1 standard and 1 wide) and a little 35mm and a little P&S digital. All film cameras would have been given a light leak check (by shining torch in a dark room) and one roll of test slide film. Opportunities missed are hard to re-live. Now and again I do look back at my travelling pics and have a good time re-living the memories. They are really so many places where I have been to but are unlikely to go back again, at least not in a little while. My only regret, and this is very British, is that it would have been nice if we have had better weather!!!
My main reason for going back to film with a RF.
The immediate gratification of digital causes me to take more and more like a dog chasing its own tail. To manny moments have been lost while I was taking or even worse reviewing images on the back of my 5D...
Ok - thanks for the input guys, I accept the point about spending too much time behind a camera (mea culpa!). I also think the best images are those that you keep in your head.
However - the point of the question was, what would you like to shoot?
My missed opportunities are still vivid images in my memory. Since I recently began taking pictures I almost always have a camera with me when out and about and feel that I see more as a result.
I agree with and have observed that when I'm shooting digital I miss being in the moment with to many random shots and checking if "I got it". Now that I shoot a lot more film I have noticed that when I see a shot I raise the rangefinder to my eye, focus, compose, press the shutter button, walk away and forget it until I develop the film a week or so later. If there was a particularly good image when realeasing the shutter it stays in my mind but the bulk of what I like come as "oh yeah that one" with the negatives on the light table and the loupe to my eye.
Wherever you go, there are people doing interesting things, and great landscapes waiting to be seen, and the light... I've not been to India, but I imagine a year or so looking around the "jewel of the east"...
Photographing has never interfered with my enjoyment of the experience or place; on the contrary, it's given me reason to be more observant and get off the usual path a bit.
I would like to go back to Lhasa. Last time I was hit with high altitude sickness. The feeling was hard to describe, like my mind was going. I had to be carried.
Miss opportunities? I would like to have made more pictures of my grand parents before they died.
Very interesting thoughts - it's travel that inspires me for photography too, and the balance between experiencing places and photographing them is tricky.
I've spent a long time in Thailand over the years, and have visited quite a few SE Asian countries a number of times. And what I find is that back when I was new to the area, even though I was a keen photographer then, I took far fewer photographs than I do now that places are more familiar.
For example, when I was first living in Thailand (I was here full time from 1987-1991), I shot about 25-30 rolls of film a year - on my last time here this year I shot about 40 rolls in 2 months.
Partly it's because I'm so familiar with the place now and I go out specifically to shoot, and partly it's because I really don't feel like I'm one of those dorky-looking tourists who only see the world through a lens any more.
So I'm glad I wasn't obsessed with photography when the wider world was all new to me and spent my time experiencing it instead. But on the other hand, when I look back at my old photos and think about the memories I didn't capture, I wish I'd shot more.
Can't win really.
"I try to put my camera away for the first while so that I can get a feel for the place in which I am staying. If you begin by getting a real sense of what you want to photograph, the images that you do make will obviously be much better than if you just start snapping away."
Second to that! If I know that I'll spend more time ata certain place I make some walks on my first days there.
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