Look Before Depressing the Shutter!

This is a little lesson for all of us trying to balance the capturing of the moment with the antics of capricious children while avoiding turning our cameras back to auto mode.

It was a Tuesday in the summer. I had brought my camera with me to work because I knew that I’d be taking Z to Castle Park at the end of the day. I wanted to work on spot metering and getting my exposure nailed in camera since I had had a few snafus months before.

It had been ages since I had used my nifty-fifty lens (50mm 1.4G), so I had to get re-used to zooming with my feet, as it were. I shot what I could and what Z would allow, but then as we were leaving I saw this cool patterned crosswalk that I thought would look fabulous in a shot.

Now if I had a time-freeze button, I could have pushed it and taken the necessary time to scope out the best positioning and the best shooting angle in relation to the setting sun, other people, and the fact that it was a freaking cross walk that cars were crossing intermittently. But you can imagine that at the end of the day, with a cranky preschooler, I had no time-freeze button with which to avail myself.

It became a quick dance of positioning (No, Z I will not let any cars come near you, I swear!), framing, metering/focusing, and then pressing the shutter. This is what resulted:

Notice something besides the epic cuteness of my kid? Yeah, I screwed the pooch with the leading lines and the photos’ balance. It looks off, cockeyed, if you will.

Finally realizing that in all my quick prep I had failed to consider the overall balance, I moved my position a little and begged Z’s continued patience and captured this:

Ahh, now that’s a lot better for the eyes. Not so jarring. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better.

So this is a little reminder that you need to scan the scene fully before depressing the shutter, even in those I only have a second before my kid enters meltdown modes we often find ourselves shooting in. Your eyes will thank you!

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