Photography lesson #1 – Don’t be a lazy bonehead

Always be prepared when shooting.  This is great advice; too bad I blew off the most important rule of photography. Recently I went to Washington DC to photograph the area and see what I can add to my PLACES Portfolio.  In prepping for the trip I wanted to pack as lightly as possible so I could be mobile and traverse the city to see what I could find.  I took my DSLR and two lenses (24-70mm 2.8 and a 14-24mm 2.8).  My goal was to be as versatile as possible in shooting and moving around and thought those lenses would give me the best opportunity to do just that.  I made a conscious decision NOT to take my tripod as I thought it would take up too much room and I didn't want to carry it around all over the place.

Apparently I left the dog behind along with my tripod. Sorry Albert!

Well, that was a complete bonehead, rookie mistake on my part.  Case in point, this image below was a great opportunity to make a great shot.  But since I didn't have my tripod with me I couldn't do any long exposures when the light was better or to create multiple exposures (for bracketing NOT HDR - My motto: Death before HDR!).  This is a nice image but as you can see there is too much clutter in the background that could easily be eliminated by shooting at night (long/longer exposure) or with multiple, bracketed exposures and then layered together in Photoshop.  By darkening the background by 2-3 stops I could have easily made this a better image where the point of focus is solely the carousel and not everything else around it.

Breakdown of why I don't like this image and wish I had my tripod.

In this image of the DC Metro I was able to rest my camera between a wall and a rail to get a 1/8th shutter speed (long exposure) for this image.  If that rail wasn't there then there's no way I could have held that camera with my bare hands to get a sharp exposure.  Hell, I can barely get a sharp exposure at 1/30th shutter speed by hand holding the camera.  Glad that rail was there so I could make this image.

Love the lines and architecture of this area. I couldn't do this without some stabilizing element.

Lesson Learned!  It takes a conscious effort to make sure a good photographer has everything he/she needs to bring an image to life.  And, because of my laziness I couldn't get what I wanted.  The good news is I am going back to DC in January and this time I will not forget to take the tripod so I can redo this image and add to my portfolio.  Lesson here - don't make a bonehead move like me... be prepared and don't be lazy.  It's always better to be have it and not use it than to not have it and need it. No more laziness... SH

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