Be Camera Ready

The Boy Scouts have a great motto: “Be prepared.”

I need to heed this great advice more often. Here is the scenario: I am in a town or driving along a country road and spot something that is photogenic. My camera is tucked away in the camera back or, worse, sitting at home. This example of ill-preparedness happens much too frequently. We have to be ready at a moment’s notice to capture the action or moment. We cannot waste our time digging through camera bags or kicking ourselves for leaving the camera back home.

I know it is not New Year’s Day, but can we make a resolution or promise to be better prepared and start practicing ways to be camera ready? I am seriously going to try this. What about you?

The Photography Learning Curve

Just when you think you are an accomplished photographer able to meet any demand, you suddenly find  yourself wondering what could have gone wrong with your most recent shoot. Maybe you purchased a new piece of photo equipment and it had a surprise or two up its sleeve for you! Or maybe the lighting conditions were atrocious and left you totally bewildered.

These things happen to all of us. Believe me, humility goes a long way in photography and it does a photographer good not to get over confident. Adaptability and a yearning to keep learning is the name of the game.

There are a couple tips worth mentioning to help avoid a major catastrophe. First, check your camera before you leave for a shoot. It may be stating the obvious, but be sure your batteries are charged and the memory card is formatted. Also be sure to check the menu settings to be sure they are exactly where you want them. While this is blatantly obvious, all it takes is forgetting to do this one time and you’ll be sure to never forget this again.

A second tip is practice before the big day. Practicing a technique before applying it is imperative. It is much easier to experiment on your own instead of in front of your client. Use a stuffed animal and attempt to replicate similar lighting conditions. Take your time and practice, practice, practice. Go over each and every detail. Take notes, too. This will be time well spent and will perhaps save you some bad surprises later.

One final tip is evaluate your photos as you go. In other words, take a peek at your photos now and then during the shoot. This is the beauty of digital photography. You can see if what you are doing is working or not. And if it’s not, then you can make the necessary corrections.

The photography learning curve can be steep at times. The effort to keep learning is definitely worth it. So, keep learning; curves and all!

Tomorrow’s Photo Trip

Early tomorrow morning, my son, James, and I will be heading off on another photography excursion. We are excited about this trip for two primary reasons. First, we always enjoy going to the beautiful mountains of Elk County and trying our hand at photographing the elk. The challenge is a welcome one for both of us because the beauty we see is always something to behold! Secondly, this is the time of year that the elk drop their antlers. Some years ago we found a spike antler, but we have not yet found any of the big boy’s antlers. We will be hiking many miles in our search and will hopefully come back with some good photos and perhaps even a shed antler. At the very least, we will come back with some incredible memories. There is no place like the mountians!

Trip Prep

We are getting ready for our next “Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience” so I am beginning to prepare for the trip. I typically work with lists of things I need to get ready and a packing list so I don’t forget to pack anything. The excitement of wondering what all we might see and be able to photograph is enough to create plenty of energy and enthusiasm for this phase of the pre-trip planning!

Food shopping and menu planning are not unimportant matters because photographers work up an appitite and must find sustinence at the end of a long day. I usually just stick some PITA PIT in my backpack as a quick snack. There are rumors that two feet of snow are blanketing the ground around our cabin. If this is true then we will be in for some interesting hikes! This causes me to wonder how the animals of the mountains are able to survive such harsh winters.

Here in the Poconos we’ve had snow on the ground for over a month now. It has been cold, too. Our lowest temperature in the month of January was -9.8. The weather is beginning to change now and this weekend is supposed to be much warmer. Forty-degrees in February is not bad at all. I am sure we will have some cold weather to deal with this week, but it could always be worse. Besides, anytime to be outdoors enjoying nature is a pure joy!

I will post another blog after we return from this week’s photo trip. In the meantime get out there and capture some photographs!
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