I’ve never been able to touch my toes in the traditional gym class kind of way. My spine just doesn’t cooperate. To paint a more vivid picture for you, it’s not like I just can’t bridge the last couple of centimeters or so with the tips of my fingers oh-so-close to brushing the ends of my feet. I don’t even come remotely close. We’re talking at least a half a foot or more between the floor and the end of my upper extremities.
Embarrassing elementary gym stories aside (and I didn’t even get to the tale about Jason Atkinson pulling my gym shorts down in front of Lucy Chipeleski), what does any of this have to do with photography?
In amateur photography, as it was in Mr. Watohovich’s phys-ed curriculum, flexibility is pretty important.
Our local photography group recently had a photowalk at the Lititz Fire & Ice Festival. The titular ice represented by frozen sculptures carved and placed in front of local downtown businesses. We all thought the ice carvings would make for some interesting photo opportunities. What we didn’t count on was the Fire in the Fire & Ice becoming a more appropriate moniker for the freakish 72 degree February weather instead of the chili cook-off it was intended to describe. Those unseasonably warm temps on the day prior to our walk left most of the sculptures in a slushy non-recognizable state, much like Meg Ryan’s face after her most recent plastic surgery.
This is where flexibility comes in. As an amateur photographer with a limited amount of time to dedicate towards your craft you can’t always pick and choose the optimal times and locations to capture the subjects you’re interested in. You have to make the best of whatever situation you find yourself thrust into. Even if you’re able to plan ahead and get in the right places at the right time, other factors can always play the saboteur.
If, for whatever reason, you can’t shoot what you you had in mind, look for subjects that are more amenable to the conditions and environment you find yourself in. I didn’t shoot one single ice sculpture on our photowalk, but I still came home with a wide variety of shots that I was happy with.
Don’t set your eyes so firmly on what you can’t shoot that you miss what you should shoot.