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Preparedness: Shoot from the Hip Photography Part 3

August 5th, 2012 No Comments

I set out to take some action photographs of an adopted cat playing with a toy, a dangling rubber ring.  Though, in this

Photo Courtesy K.S

case, I was setting out to take a particular type of photo for which I was ready, for one thing, it still required me to shoot at precisely the right split-second; cats bat their paws lightning-fast  (Flash, distinct and separate from shutter-speed, helps to ‘freeze’ motion; that is a topic for a separate discussion.)  No matter what, it was going to be an instantaneous shot.  However, as things panned out, had I not been prepared from the get-go, I would not have captured this image. 

I had fully anticipated that the cat would keep playing with the ring and I would have my choice of shooting angles, poses, and such; wrong!  First she batted at the ring a couple of times, quickly snatched it, got it in her mouth, and, bored with the toy, moved away after playing with it for, I reckon, less than twenty seconds, and all I got were three or four images.  What’s more, the picture you’re seeing is the very first one; and I only got that because, even though I was not anticipating it, I was prepared: as soon as the ring swung near the cat, she jumped up to bat at it; being prepared, I had the area of interest in the LCD panel, so when the cat immediately reared up on her hind legs to bat the ring away, the instant I thought she was at full height, I shot.  I was prepared because my camera was on, flash was ready, I was at the right distance, and I had the subject covered in the LCD panel.

This is the full uncropped image.  Tautologically, I was ready for the shot (else I could not have taken it) and it is self-evident that I was not anticipating it because this (full, uncropped) image shows that it is not composed sufficiently tightly and the shooting angle is less than optimal (being too steep).  Nevertheless, in terms of camera and flash readiness and having the subject covered, I was prepared for it.

This photograph of the cat is one that was partly ‘made’ rather than strictly ‘found’ or stumbled upon as was the first photograph of the dog.  That said, it still required readiness and, in this case, preparedness, besides the experience to freeze the moment.

The lesson to be learnt is that even though you may not be anticipating the great shot, it cannot hurt to be ready and prepared, and it can only help.  If you know or sense that some subject may do something worth freezing on film (read magnetic media), simply keep your camera on, flash on if necessary, train it on the area of interest (which may not even have a subject or the subject of interest; see underneath) and keep yourself at an appropriate distance, finger on the shutter.

Read all the Parts – Shoot From the Hip Photography Master Class 

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