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You Can’t Take Great Photos While Your Camera Is In The Bag

You Can’t Take Great Photos While Your Camera Is In The Bag

When was the last time you let your lazy side get the better of you? Don’t be ashamed, it happens to us all. Professional or amateur, on occasion, we all let that side take hold. However, with that decision to stay in bed, keep watching TV, have a night in, etc. comes a whole host of missed opportunities. Have you ever wondered, what did I miss?

This time of year is fantastic for photographing Deer. Firstly, it’s rutting season. I tend to find those rutting photos have been done to death but the Deer are very active, and it is pretty special to watch. Secondly, this season suits the aesthetic I search for. I love fog; it has this wonderful transformative quality, comparable to snow, and this time of year sees it occurring far more often. Finally, with the days being shorter and sunrise coming later, you don’t have to get up too early. I always like to arrive well before sunrise, so this is a big factor.

I mostly shoot portraits professionally. Nature photography is more of a hobby. As you can imagine, after a busy week it can sometimes be difficult (putting it mildly) to drag myself out of bed at 6 am. Sometimes I, like everyone else, turn the alarm off, pause, stare at the ceiling, and go back to sleep. In fact, I’ve done that more times than I can remember.

This is something which affects us all. Whether it be pounding the pavement, figuratively or literally, in search of your next job, braving early mornings, staying up all night to photograph the stars. Whatever it may be the lazy gene plagues us all.

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Photographing wildlife is very hit and miss. There are so many elements which are completely out of your control. In fact, the only thing you really have control over is your gear. Other than that, everything can, and sometimes does, go wrong. It’s common for me to take hundreds of photos to be left with only one that I deem acceptable. It’s also not unheard of to come away with nothing. Now that’s frustrating! Getting up at 4, 5 or 6 am and being left with rubbish.

On this morning, my alarm went off. I turned it off and paused. That split second past and rather than roll over and go back to sleep, I managed to pull myself up and left the house. I was very very close to staying in bed!

On arrival at the park, I was disappointed to see that the reports of fog seemed to have been exaggerated. Nevertheless, I persevered. Having been to this area many times I know exactly where to find the Deer. If you plan to do some wildlife photography I encourage you to learn as much as you can beforehand. It’s difficult enough. Make sure you know where to find your subjects, their behaviours and most importantly if photographing larger animals, how to stay safe.

Thankfully, on this morning my perseverance was rewarded. A blanket of dense fog engulfed the landscape. Distant bellows of Stags and the sound of rutting could be heard everywhere. Finding a good vantage point to make the most of the sun, I waited for it to rise. Personally, I find this very important for wildlife photography. You need to be ready well before the event. For me, that’s sunrise, and so I arrive early.

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Everything changed as the sun pierced the horizon trying it’s best to penetrate the fog. Beautiful colours appeared across the sky and the herd became very active. It can be very tempting in situations like this to let your excitement get the better of you. Always remember to slow down yourself and your shooting. If not, you may have the most amazing scene but some poor photos. It’s much better to come away with a couple good photos rather than hundreds of sub-standard ones.

Returning home, I knew the morning had been a success. Little did I know that this morning had been the best I have ever had. I was left with so many beautiful shots that I will be editing for a long time. Imagine if I had stayed in bed!

Don’t let your lazy side take control. Go out and shoot. After all, nothing happens when your camera’s in the bag. You never know, you could be missing something very special.

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2 Comments

  • Hey Max! Nice article. A good reminder for me. I feel like I spend 90% of my time working on administrative stuff and writing 🙂

    • Max Bridge says:

      Hey Tanya. Tell me about it! Things always get in the way. This year I plan to do much more shooting for myself and a little less admin type stuff. Although, I have no idea how to accomplish that!