Photography Lab #2: Ask for the Shot

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Hamilton Ave., Detroit, MI – [Sony NEX-5R: ISO 400, 28mm, 1/3 sec @ f4.0]

This post is not so much about the mediocre shot I got as it is the great shot I missed. Driving down Hamilton St. in Detroit last night, I noticed this building and decided to bail out and take a few shots. “Great low-light shooting practice and, who knows, maybe get a decent shot”, I thought. Spent about 10 minutes or so with my rig set up in the middle of the street dodging traffic using different settings. Kept waiting for something to “happen” like a car or someone on bike to ride by to add to the shot, but nothing worked out. I finally folded up my tripod, turned my camera off and headed back to the truck and then it happened.

A guy wearing a long white coat and a bright red had came out of the middle door of the building, stood there for a moment, lit a cigarette, looked around and then walked down the sidewalk. When I saw him I started to fumble with my tripod and then tried to get my camera set, but it was too late. He had already walked out of the shot. After cursing to myself for 10 minutes I began to think about what I could have done differently. The first option would have been to just grab the camera and shoot what I could in auto (which would have been better than what I got – nothing). The other (and probably better) option would have been to shout over to him and ask if he’d be interested in letting me get a few shots. This probably would have worked (and I’ve done that before), but I was too aggravated (and tired from a full 20 hour shift at work) to walk over there. As I drove away I accepted the fact that sometimes you just miss the shot. Today as I was working on this photo in Lightroom, I keep seeing that guy in the shot. So, the moral of this story is clear: ALWAYS BE READY and, if you miss it, ASK FOR THE SHOT!