What do you think about yourself as photographer? How do you feel when others look at your photographs? Probably you feel insecure and afraid that they might not like your photos. Maybe you think during a photo assignment constantly “I hope they will like it” and in photography courses you dare not to ask a question. Sound familiar?
If your answer is yes, you will also know how the results look like when you were afraid of failure during a photo shoot. Most likely you were not happy with them. Maybe your camera was shaking and the subject was not in focus. And for wildlife enthusiasts a lot of other fears can come on top of the fear of failure during a photographic safari, like the fear of the camera getting to dirty, the fear of getting lost or of being run over by elephant. Seems that there are many things in photography one can be afraid of. But the one thing one really needs to be afraid of is the fear itself.
Being afraid makes a photographer being less engaged with the light and subject and even worse, the fear will show in the images.
Be conscious that not everybody will love your photographs, but that doesn’t mean they are a failure, they just do not appeal to them for individual reasons. And there are no stupid questions. So, just ask what you want to ask in any photography course. Learn from other photographers, but do not compare yourself with their awards and magazine cover success. You are going your own way in photography and who had thought that Van Gogh would be world famous now at the time he lived? Maybe just time is not ready for you, but you are ready to enjoy your photography and keep doing that and be not afraid, there is no failure.
Now the photography enthusiast and Reddit user hallbuzz made a list of all the camera settings of the 95 images from the Reuters list including camera brand, lens type, shutter speed and f-stop. Then another Reddit user mathiasa turned all this information into charts. See the charts on petapixel.
When looking at the charts one could be tempted to think that in order to be one day on the list of the 95 greatest photographs of the year, chosen by Reuters, one just can buy the equipment mostly used and the settings mostly applied. But is that so?
How often do you shoot a sports event like the Olympics? Are the best photographs shot with a Canon, rather than with a Nikon?
What are the charts tell? Photographers of press agencies get equipped by their employer and the employer chooses a camera brand of good quality he can get a good deal with. Same for the lenses, reflecting also in the f-stop stats. And from there it’s a bit of everything, depending on subject and location.
So, what does this example of stats of popular settings tell us? There is nothing like a popular setting one can just use, because others do. Camera settings always depend on the light and nothing else.
Unfortunately the bats had left behind quite a mess in the bathrooms and it was really a shame that nobody had thought about nets to keep them out. The facilities were really nice, except the other visitors. I found out later that every morning people are coming to clean the whole place and it’s fine until the bats come back. Nobody seemed to be bothered by it.
Tsavo East is well known for the elephants and we went out to find some. It was very dry and then the best thing to do is going to a waterhole. According to Paul there was a big dam where we could find plenty of animals. When we got there the dam was dry. Even Paul was surprised. He had never seen the dam dry. Not far away was another smaller waterhole and there the elephants were. It actually didn’t look much like a waterhole, more like a mud-hole, but the animals seamed happy with it. The elephants were standing in the mud, enjoying cooling down. Zebra, warthog, jackals and ostrich carefully tried to sip water from the mud. We stayed for hours.
In the afternoon we cruised through another part of the park and also there were plenty of elephants. Beautiful red colored elephants, from the red soil in the park.
Billions of photos will be taken on Christmas around the world, billions of videos will be shot and Youtubed on Christmas and billions of people will look at them and watch the videos. It will be mostly the same objects like Christmas trees, families at their Christmas feasts, families unpacking presents, Christmas decorations, children playing and people partying.
There are only few images taken at such an event that are interesting for a broader group of people (also those who don’t know the people in it) and these images are the ones that enable the viewer to become part of the family he/she is actually not part of in real life, but learns about them in an intimate way through the photographs.
How can those images be taken? First of all just shoot away without thinking too much. Then add to your focus of seeing (not on your camera) “motion” and from there go to photographing “emotion”. Your photographs will gain depth, what makes one keep looking at them and constantly finding new things in them.
This can be applied to any photography, yet Christmas is a good point to start.
What do you see when looking at a Francis Bacon painting? Essence.
Yes, there is still recognizable shape, yet no disturbing details. The subject’s essence is captured in the painting and without seeing the bullfighter’s face we know it’s the bullfighter. The painting is condensed essence and when looking at it we can feel the energy between the man and the animal, the power of the moment the tension, the fear.
How can a photographer paint like Bacon? By daring to shoot away and simply following the energy of the moment.
Imagine a horse race. The horses are coming with such a speed that there is no time to think at all. You got to shoot away, just follow with your camera the energy of the racing horses and you will get the most amazing photographs. You will feel the energy and there is no choice, it lasts only for seconds, so just let go and shoot. The horses are faster than you and the camera, so probably most of the image will be blur, but the essence will be in focus and the blur rest of the image shows the dynamic of the moment. The viewer will feel it, just like in a painting from Bacon.