It’s Okay, Really, It Is

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There are photographers, myself included at times, that tend to over think the whole process along the lines of:

1. Will this customer or group of people like this subject? Will they like the way I think I want to photograph the subject?

2. I can’t photograph that subject; I’m the only one that will like it.

3. I really like this view but it will probably make an ugly photo.

And the list of reasons and excuses not to photograph something goes on and on. But you know what? It’s okay to photograph just for yourself. Yes, that’s what I said and it really is. You see a bug splat on an automobile windshield and you think it looks interesting. Photograph it. Try it. Nothing will happen except your camera will click and the image will be captured. You like the way a dead leaf looks; photograph it. You really don’t have to over analyze the result before you even point the camera at the subject.

Recently I was attending an art festival and I noticed a number of cars parked along a nearby street. All the cars and pick-ups had their hoods raised and people were sitting in lawn chairs next to each car. Guess what? Car show. It wasn’t a big car show but one particular car caught my eye. I actually recognized the make, model and model year of the car from a hundred yards away. I couldn’t help myself, I had to go over and photograph some of the cars.

Now, other than use those images to illustrate this article I probably won’t ever do anything with them. They probably don’t mean anything to anyone besides me but I had fun looking at the old cars and photographing them. I’ll keep the images and from time to time I’ll see them and enjoy looking at the old cars.

Back in March when I travelled to the Everglades to photograph mostly nesting birds, I saw a Great Blue Heron return to its nest with something long hanging from its beak. At first I thought it was just a stick to be added to the nest but then the stick moved; changed shape. Pointed my camera complete with 500mm lens at the bird and realized that the stick was actually a snake. I photographed the bird and the snake as the parent bird tried to interest the chicks with the snake and after failing in that, swallowed the snake whole. Now, none of the photos have any artistic or contest value because there is too much clutter in the way. I knew that when I was photographing the bird with the snake. But, I didn’t care. I have it, I can look at the heron with the snake anytime I want to and I can show it to others like I’m doing here. I saw a snake in the bird’s beak and I wanted to capture that regardless of anything else and I did.

The point is that every photo doesn’t have to be a work of art. You could call the photos in the article snap shots and say that anyone with a point and shoot camera could have taken them. That’s okay by me. I knew when I took them what I was getting but I wanted the images anyway.

The next time you have camera in hand and you’re taking photographs for whatever reason, don’t avoid all opportunities to photograph something just because you think it wouldn’t turn out very well. From time to time when you see something you’d like to remember, take the photo. Nobody’s going to know. It can be your little secret.

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