Friday, October 12, 2007

The Ones That Got Away


If you ask any wildlife photographer to show you their best photographs, they won't be able to, because they'll tell you that the best photos are the ones they were never able to capture. Wildlife photographers get up before the crack of dawn, make their way through the dark mists to a blind in the marsh or woods, and then wait--often for hours--until the ducks or turkeys put in an appearance. The best photographers are always ready, with their fingers on the shutter, to capture that perfect, fleeting image. But the animals are just about always stealthier, quieter, faster, coming into view opposite from where the camera is pointing or moving faster than the photographer can focus. The photographer might be able to snap his/her head around to see what the elk or coyote is doing, but in such a situation, only rarely will the photographer end up with more than a memory of the moment.

Nowadays, we all walk around with digital cameras (or even cell phones) to record our memories, but how many times do we still say, "If only I had a camera with me..."? The best images are still the ones we carry around in our minds, not on film (or in digital files).

So the next time you're tempted to take out the photo album or load the slide show for your friends, take a couple of minutes to share as well those images that you can't actually display--those unforgettable moments that are burned so vividly in your memory--the ones that never really "got away" from you.

1 comment:

ej444 said...

I've always felt this way - that the best natural images during a trip abroad or vacation were beyond my ability to capture on camera. Yet, I continue to be inspired by good photographs others take, and occassionally my own amateur ones. While I don't think I could be successful at capturing the most sought-after images professionals go for, I am grateful to all those who seek them and share what they have.