Is it just a great photo - or is it being at the right place at the right time ?
Interesting thought isn’t it — as this statement never even considers anything about the gear; hmmmm.
I’ve taken thousands of images — most of them are crap, some of them are so-so, and a handful are keepers, and of those handful, a handful are, “I want you to see this”, images.
Along the way there are a few thoughts about getting that image.
- Right place a the right time.
Mostly these are life changing events - Kennedy assassination, Cappa’s Normandy Beach landing, Sports events etc. You just happened to be there, and as luck would have it - you just happened to be the only guy with a camera.
- The subject matter is so powerful - most any image could be great, although similar to above.
You’re on the Moon, shooting Earth. Pictures of Jesus (ok, I’m being a bit smart here). The Beatles disembarking the plane, etc.
- You know what you want to shoot - so you plan and execute, as subject matter is static.
Ansel Adams, Hedrich Blessing, and Julius Shulman come to mind. Oh, and I might add - you really need to know what you are doing.
- The situation demands the gear without peer — shooting high ASA in the dark, crazy fast 11fps frame rates and big zoom shots of surfers.
And then there is just plain luck. And I’ll admit it - I’ve had my share. And I love it. And I’ve had it all go in the shitter too and come back with nothing - but that’s thankfully never happened when I was getting paid.
Where am I going with this - you still really need to know what you are doing and be a master of your gear. And shoot — shoot a lot. Shoot a lot of everything.
After thousands of frames you will be able visualize the zoomed aspect ratios of the subjects you scan with your eyes. And when the subject bisects that vision, take note as that is most often for me the beginning what just may be a great photo.
Having your camera handy to get that shot is also helpful.