Welcome to Exploring with a Camera! This next couple of weeks we are going to be Waiting to Click. As always, I have a lot of ideas to share with you in this post and then there is a link up at the bottom for you to share your images on the topic. You can also share your photos in the Flickr pool if you are interested in being featured on the blog.
There is so much of our world that is changeable. When you tune in to it, you begin to notice the ebb and flow of life around us. “Waiting to Click” is about being aware of the changeable things in our environment, predicting what is going to happen and then waiting to capture the image we’ve anticipated. So often photographers talking about being ready, having the camera with us and available to shoot, in order to capture a fleeting moment as we see it unfold. Waiting to Click takes the readiness a bit further, adding a bit of both prediction and patience into the mix.
To get a great image by Waiting to Click requires your active participation. Here is what you have to do:
- Be aware of what is changeable in your environment. We live in a world of change, whether it’s the flow of traffic or the clouds blowing by, there are variables that affect the potential for us to make good images. By noticing the things that are moving and changing, and how they change relative to the things that are fixed, we can make use of them in our photography.
- See the image you want to capture. You need to see the potential shot. This may mean looking through or past the changeable things in the environment, or predicting their behavior to include them in the image you want to capture.
- Know your equipment. In order to take advantage of a changing situation, you have to know your camera. What is the delay between shutter press and release? What is the timing if you use burst? I know we are talking about fractions of a second here for dSLRs, but those fractions of a second may matter. For point-and-shoots or phone cameras, the delay is longer and you really have to be able to coordinate the pressing of the shutter with the prediction of the shot.
- Wait for the shot to unfold, then capture it. This is the key. This could mean waiting for several seconds, or it could mean waiting minutes. Professional photographers might wait all day for the perfect light to capture the image they see. How long you are willing to wait is up to you.
Now let’s see a few examples of Waiting to Click, to further explain what I mean…
Vehicles of all sorts are always moving around us, when we are out and about in the streets. You may recognize the lead-in image for this post as another in my emerging market/wheels series, and the capture of this shot is a great example of Waiting to Click. I saw this image across a very busy street in Siracusa, Sicily. I paused for a while and watched the traffic flow. There were a few moments in each traffic light cycle, where the cars passing by on the street cleared out just long enough to photograph a few frames. While traffic was going by, I looked at possible angles and compositions, and situated myself in the best spot for the image I envisioned. I waited for the next traffic light cycle, and the moment the cars cleared out, I got the shot.
In some cases, you want the moving vehicle in the shot, like this one of the Milan subway I captured with my iPhone camera. This was my first outing with the camera, and I was just getting used to the delay. I was fascinated by the crowd on the other side of the subway platform and thought it would be a great shot to have the crowd behind the train pulling into the station, so I practiced with a couple of shots of the crowd to get the framing and camera timing down. Then, when I heard the train coming, I was ready to click as soon as it entered the frame and captured the image I wanted.
We are often surrounded by our fellow human beings, and depending on the shot you want, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. You might think that Europe is an empty place, from my photographs. I really love to capture an empty street or place, to allow the viewer room to imagine themselves in the frame. To do this, I often have to wait for a lull. Just like cars, the flow of people will change, but it’s less predictable. Here is another in my market/wheels series, captured in Bologna. It looks like this was a deserted street, but this was a busy Saturday afternoon, the weather was nice, and people were out on the streets in force. I used the times when there were people coming by to set up the shot and play around with composition. When I found the image I wanted, I waited for the people to leave the frame, and clicked.
Here is another image where I waited for the frame to clear, with the exception of the people seated on the left. Evening at the Roman Baths in Bath, England is certainly quieter than the day, but there were still many people wandering around and listening to their audioguides. (I’ve learned to dislike audioguides – people stand immobile for minutes on end gazing at something while listening to the commentary, much longer than they do without the audioguide.) Meanwhile, I patiently waited for them to move on so I could get the right image.