Keep a camera nearby and do not miss a decisive moment

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Egret at a decisive moment

When I gave a metal print of this image to the Central Valley Asian-American Chamber of Commerce for a door-prize at an upcoming event they asked me to write something about it to display with the print. That makes a new blog post easy. Since I am writing about the image anyway, why not kill two birds…

Bad pun, and just for the record; no birds were harmed in the writing of this post or the taking of this picture.

There is a very good reason I have a camera with me most of the time. And by camera I mean my digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera. I’m not going to mention the brand because it doesn’t matter. The best camera is the one you have, even if it is a phone.

The reason for always having a camera handy came to me by way of hockey great Wayne Gretzky.

 “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

No doubt you have read that quote several hundred times on social media. It is one of a few reasons I carry a camera with me. You see, I’m a photographic opportunist. One who looks for the next great photograph when I am out and about. Not in an obsessive camera attached to my face kind of way, but I do tend to see things like they are photographs. I look for pictures and often think photographically. It’s not something I can explain. More like how I feel. Sometimes it works for me. Sometimes it doesn’t. Who cares, when I photograph I have fun.

I wasn’t looking for this shot in particular when I created it. It happened while walking the dog. Fortunately, I had my camera with me. The egret was minding its own business standing in the water hyacinth waiting for lunch to swim by. I wanted to get a few shots off and hoped it would give me some decisive moment; that split second of interest that transforms a snapshot into a photograph. I wasn’t after just another bird picture. This was going to be an egret spearing a fish. What I got was an egret saying, “I’ve had enough of your nosiness. I’m outta here.” In photography, you don’t always get what you want; sometimes you get better.

The photo was captured at a decisive moment.

Living in the central valley provides some incredible opportunities to create great images. You don’t have to travel far for them. This one was taken just a couple blocks from home. It doesn’t matter what you want to photograph, it’s probably within a day’s travel, a short drive, or a stroll down the street. Opportunity for every genre of photography is close at hand.

You need just one thing to get started. A camera. The rest will come.

I’d love to hear your stories about having a camera at the right moment. Post in the comments section.