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“The best way out is always through.”

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Right Place, Right Time, Old Friends

A few weeks ago I was coming home from a photo assignment and my mind was so fried that I decided to stop at a seawall on Long Island Sound just to stare at the distance and unwind. It's amazing how much a few hours of concentrated shooting can take out of you.While I was zoning out a boat with a very colorful sail started tacking back and forth in front of me, sailing out a mile or so, then turning around and sailing back. I realized after a few minutes that it was an old  friend of mine (we went to kindergarten together!) that lives on the beach. With those pretty colors and the nice late-afternoon sun, there was no way I could not shoot some photos--so out came the camera and the 70-300mm Nikkor lens. Since I had the hood of my van to lean on, I ended up shooting handheld--which is extremely rare for me. But with an exposure of 1/1250 second at f/9, I knew I had all of the shutter speed and depth of field I needed to safely shoot handheld.

A week later I was having lunch with another friend at a restaurant on the same seawall and my friend Peter (the person sailing the boat) came peddling by on his bike (this is a very outdoorsy guy!) and he stopped to talk for a while. By utter coincidence he started talking about having a nice sail a week or so back and I remembered the shots I'd taken! I was so pleased that it was in fact him in the boat! He also told me he was in the process of trying to sell the boat, so there was a good chance that my 50 or so shots of him were the last photos he'd have of him sailing his pretty little boat.

Anyway, coincidence plays a huge role in photography (and in life) and it's up to you to take advantage of the moment. I could have just sat, worn out as I was from an afternoon of corporate portrait shooting, to enjoy the pretty boat sailing back and forth. But now that I know it was a childhood friend of mine, I'm so glad I made the effort to take the photos. As I tell all of my students and readers, my mantra is: When you see it, shoot it! Reality doesn't provide many second chances to capture the shots you want.

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Julie said...

I know there has been many times I have let a picture pass by and I know that was my once in a lifetime chance. I am sure it was a good shot when I find myself thinking on it later. I am pleased with myself when I do take the opprotunity to stop and take that chance. Thank you for the colorful inspiring post!

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