View Full Version : Missed opportunities

john neal
09-24-2008, 04:50

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?

09-24-2008, 05:28
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.

09-24-2008, 06:35
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:

09-24-2008, 06:50
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!!!

09-24-2008, 08:01
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...

john neal
09-24-2008, 23:58
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?

09-25-2008, 00:23
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.

09-25-2008, 00:27
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.

09-25-2008, 00:50
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.

09-25-2008, 02:41
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.

09-25-2008, 02:48
"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.