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Late last week I talked about how many of us need to pull back a little on ‘reading’ about photography and actually start ‘doing’ some more of it.
This struck home for me recently while at a George Michael concert here in Melbourne. OK – don’t mock, I was there with my wife, a big George fan…. I promise.
The concert was a stadium gig and we were a LONG way back in the crowd (yep… I was too cheap to get seats up close… who would pay $500 per seat for that?).
Seated directly in front of us were a couple of women (actually there were a couple of thousand of them) – one of whom took literally hundreds of photos during the night.
As someone with an interest in photography I was drawn to watching the woman taking the photos – to see what kind of results she got.
Of course, being seated 80 meters away from the stage – the shots she took with her little Sony Cybershot camera were pretty average. As the concert went on I became increasingly smug and ‘high and mighty’ as I watched her take bad shot after bad shot.
She started the night by using her flash…. and getting pictures of brightly lit backs of heads (of the people in front of her) in front of a black void.
She then tried turning off the flash and started getting blurry shots of lights on a tiny stage in the distance.
She then tried using the zoom and used the digital zoom to its maximum and ended up with massively pixelated shots…. she then decided to lean her camera against a pole beside her to stabilise the shot… slowly her shots improved – but there was nothing really that resembled a good shot.
As I watched her (and pretended to get into George for my wife’s sake) I became increasingly smug about my own photographic knowledge. I could take so much better shots than her…. because I’ve read (and written) on this very topic of taking shots at a concert.
However…. as I travelled home on the train that night after the concert it struck me – that woman had improved her photography that night more than me and that she had been a better photographer that night than I was…. because she’d actually bothered to take her camera and use it while my camera had stayed at home in its bag.
In fact – I’m guilty of the ‘I left my camera at home’ scenario a lot more than I’d like to admit. As a result I’m sure my own development as a photographer has hit a plateau of late.
Rule #1 to becoming a better photographer – take your camera with you.