I tend to approach photography with a predetermined and deliberate vision. While wildlife photography requires a more serendipitous approach, landscapes and abstractions feed my obsessive - compulsive tendencies.
In general, I will begin to define my vision by pre-framing an image in my head. I will study the area, frame the image with boxed fingers, and look for a suitable spot to place a tripod. Here, “tripod gymnastics” can consume as much as 30 minutes. I will raise the legs, shift the angle, shift the head, and hopefully find that sweet spot. By now, the light is prime and I fix the camera and lens to the rig. After attaching a cable release and applying mirror lock-up, I am ready to compose, shoot, recompose, and shoot again. The light fades fast, and if I’m lucky, I’ll make a few satisfactory images, and call it a day.
Enter the compact camera.
This has been a real tendency breaker for Tamy and I. Instead of working slowly, I will become impetuous and take chances. Holding a point and shoot and framing with the LCD, I’ll shoot pictures that I might otherwise ignore. Compact cameras now equals “grab-bag” photography. I’m not sure what I’ll get, but what’s lost in taking the risk?
In the above images, Tamy was sitting on a rock, watching the waves crash along Lake Superior when she decided to pull out her G9 and make portraits of our pup. With one arm extended and the other holding a leash, she framed Sequoia’s face with the LCD and just pressed the button. Had she taken the time to use her SLR, the moment would have been lost.
While hiking through Gooseberry Falls State Park, I observed that a sheet of ice had formed a cave on the other side of the river. The day’s warm temperature initiated a thaw, and the river ice was beginning to melt. I new that I couldn’t cross the river ice with my heavy pack, so I ditched it in the snow, grabbed my m4/3 body and cautiously traversed the river. After scrambling up a muddy slope, I climbed into the cave, lied on my back, and pointed the camera towards the sky.
Had I followed my typical protocol, I would have deemed the image too risky and considered a lost opportunity. A quality compact now offers us the chance to take new risks, search for different images, and continue to have fun with our photography.
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