Saturday, March 15, 2014

Shit Happens (We all makes mistakes... Eventually!)

This week, I made a mistake that I feel someone with my experience, shouldn't have made.  Although it wasn't an epic "FAIL" per se, it was humbling to see that even after all those years of experience, one slight distraction can make the difference between capturing a once-in-a-lifetime shot, or writing a Blog post on why it was lost! ;)

Let's face it, as photographers, most would agree that during ones career, we can count the "exceptional" images, to about a handful.  That being said, I think I had one of those in the bag, except...

Here's the scenario... I was trying to get a straight on shot of a snowy owl, in attack mode, close to the ground, wings spread, glaring eyes, paws down and claws open, about to grasp it's prey.

The remotely-triggered cameras were set, each equipped with a 200-400m f/4, and a 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II, and I'm handling the 400mm f/2,8 IS II on a Promedia gimbal head.  I wanted the shot to fill the entire frame to get the best quality image possible, , so I moved up about 2 feet. Somehow, the focus range switch on the lens got bumped in the 7 Meter > Infinity position.  Yeap, you guessed it, I was about at 6.5M from the subject, and I had the ultimate shot!  So perfect, the owl had just grasped it's prey, and had it in its claws, along with snow trickling down from it's paws.  Upsetting, would be an understatement!   You can't easily tell by the image, but the owl is actually closer than the focused cut corn stock below him.

      iPhone image

I'm faced to admit, that sometimes, you're so into the moment of capturing "THE" shot, that you don't take the time to oversee that every facet of photography is covered.  Yes, every camera setting can be dialed in perfectly, but a parameter as simple as a switch on a lens, that could have easily been taped down, (to prevent moving), rendered the shot non-viable.

Today's gear is designed to offer the highest possible performance, but it has also gained in complexity, and that the slightest oversight can render a shot technically impossible.

Many of you will think that this shouldn't happen to a seasoned pro, but with as many shots we take in a year, it was bound to happen... eventually.  Take the time to consider every setting and variable that compose a perfect technical shot, as to reduce the chance of this happening to you. The important thing here, is to learn by our mistakes, and put measures in place to prevent this from occurring again!

I'm sure you all want to see the image in question, so here it is...  LINK
The 2nd image on that link, is the frame just before the subject flew in closer than the 7meter mark.  (look how tack sharp that one is!).