I’ve always preferred casual portraits. People don’t stiffen up or get nervous that they won’t look perfect. For me, that often means taking a lot of pictures from off angles. If they see me there pointing the lens at them, it’s hard for them to pretend I’m not there. Garry is very good at taking my picture when I’m not looking and he has taken the only pictures of me I really like. Not every picture is great, but in photography, that is typically the way reality works. I once knew a guy who took absolutely astounding photographs of rodeos and riders. I’ve never seen anything as good. I asked him how he did it.
He said: “I open the camera all the way up and just shoot. I often take 1000 or more pictures at a single rodeo. One of them will be amazing. Another dozen will be very good, and maybe a dozen more will be good enough. The rest get trashed.”
While I don’t take 1000 pictures of any one thing — not counting the Grand Canyon where I probably took that many pictures and had maybe three I thought were worth saving — I don’t expect every photo to be great or even good. Especially if I’m shooting moving targets. People in motion, birds hopping or flying around, squirrels, chipmunks, and any kind of street scene. I’ve been taking pictures since I was in my early 20s. I’ve had lots of practice in dumping pictures that were just a LITTLE BIT out of focus or were so crooked you could not straighten them without losing most of the photograph. Yet, somehow, I still have more than 100,000 pictures — and that was from a few years ago, so it’s more now.
I’m hoping we’ll be getting outside again soon. It’s warming up. It will be time to go down to the river and maybe we won’t be the only ones there anymore.