Don’t leave home without it… a camera

December 16, 2010

Thousands of Common Grackle birds fly over downtown Waco and the Alico Building after sunset in Texas December 31, 2007.  REUTERS/Larry Downing

The most beautiful photographic moments jump out in front of you unexpectedly and then, as quickly as they appeared, vanish into thin air. Wonderful photographs exist for an instant before they’re gone forever… alluring eye candy seductively winking at you in plain sight waiting for an easy invite to go home with you, be framed, and then proudly shown off for a lifetime.

Confession takes place inside the Catholic cathedral in the Plaza de Armas in Santiago, Chile, October 5, 2009.  REUTERS/Larry Downing

Sound easy? It is, only if you follow the most basic rule of photography… don’t ever leave home without a camera.

A female customer's foot is seen inside a fish pool containing tiny carp, or Garra Rufa fish, which feed off the dead skin from feet to soften them before a pedicure at Yvonne's Hair and Nail Salon in Alexandria in Virginia, September 13, 2008.          REUTERS/Larry Downing

Any camera, big or small, size doesn’t matter!

Shadows are cast on the White House in the early morning before a snow in Washington, February 4, 2009.  REUTERS/Larry Downing

The latest selection of amateur “happy snap” digital cameras have given new life to professional dreams for all levels of talent of aspiring photographers by providing a chance for picture success on an easier playing field. Technological wonders built by Panasonic, Canon, Sony or Nikon are tiny, simple and efficient mini-computers that are also shockproof, waterproof, and foolproof. Quiet marvels outfitted with fast, world-class optics (lower light capabilities), and built in zoom lenses. All combining to provide the user with significant photographic superiority compared to the larger, slower, mechanical “old school” film cameras needing collections of toxic chemicals and a dedicated darkroom with specialized equipment to produce printed pictures.

With the temperature over 100 degrees in Washington DC in August, geese look for water at fountain next to reflecting pool.  REUTERS/Larry Downing

There are even pocket-sized cameras now available with Global Positioning Satellite receivers installed inside that map where in the world your camera took the picture.

A tourist enjoys the sunset on New Year's Eve on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii December 31, 2009.         REUTERS/Larry Downing

So stash one inside your jacket, purse or backpack and then patiently wait. Otherwise, those amazing pictures will evaporate quicker than a magician’s burning flash paper as surprised eyes stare right through it with no camera to grab.

An airplane shadow is seen from the window of a passenger jet.  REUTERS/Larry Downing

More than ever before great pictures can be found anytime, anywhere, as long as you and your “intelligent” camera are always ready as a team. No longer is a tattered passport checkered with foreign visas and exotic border stamps a guarantee to a successful photo safari. Photographs live everywhere… allow curious eyes to find them. Just look inside the ignored morning shadows on the way to work or follow the end of the tangerine rays of light at sunset for your own happy hour.

An airplane hangar is seen at sunset.  REUTERS/Larry Downing

My pocket Lumix camera is always dialed onto one of the automatic “PHD” settings for quick, responsive shooting. “PHD”?… “Push Here Dummy.” That camera is so smart that I rely on it 100% to quickly calculate the right exposure combination leaving my only concentration on capturing those splashes of primary colors before they twist away as fast as reflected carnival lights dancing across the polished hood of a passing car racing towards the black night.

Specially trained Langoor monkeys and their owners walk along the street next to North Block before positioning on the roof to chase away smaller, loud and aggressive monkeys before a VIP visit to the official Administration buildings in India. The smaller monkeys are afraid of the Langoor monkeys and stay away from the buildings during ceremonies. Otherwise they would create distractions during the speeches of the VIP's.  REUTERS/Larry Downing

And because it has an amateur “look” I can freely roam while witnessing unguarded and unrehearsed moments of life without changing the social dynamics of the moment by introducing a larger “professional looking” camera to the stage.

A lighthouse is seen at night.  REUTERS/Larry Downing

The pictures in this story all appeared without warning and would be empty memories if I hadn’t had my camera with me.

Waves crash into a wall as the sun sets on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii January 2, 2010.         REUTERS/Larry Downing


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Hanging around with Cartier Bresson, eh Larry?

Posted by amkoppelman | Report as abusive

Great column. Love it so much and this is very true thoughts for every photography fans! Thank you for posting and sharing all this!

Posted by georgechen | Report as abusive