“f8 and be there!” Wegee (Arthur Fellig) and Galen Rowel both gave this advice about making great photographs. One was a press photographer New York City and the other climbed mountains to get his images but they both had the same philosophy, if you aren’t there you can’t make the photograph. Something similar has been used by different photographers for many years. “f11 and hold still” is the advice Walker Evans gave. It’s now different now then when any one of these great photographers said. Be there or you won’t get the photograph. So where does that leave each of us?
Well, it’s simple really, get out there! The more photographs you make the better you will get. You have to or you will give it up. I think that those who eventually give it up and stick to making snap shots are those that didn’t take the time to learn from their successes. They got bogged down in their mistakes. Learning from your mistakes can be easy, if the frame is dark then the exposure was wrong, simple enough. But what about those perfectly exposed happy accidents? We all have them but how many of us learn from them?
One of the great things about digital photography is Exif information. Your camera saves the data about how your camera was set up when you made that photograph. Unless you erase this information, and I don’t recommend you do, it is saved with your photos forever. Twenty years from now you can look back and see exactly what went right when you made that image. So I recommend that you not only learn from your mistakes but more importantly learn from your successes! You have all the Exif info you need from both! Get your camera, make some photo, good and bad, so you can learn to improve your photography skills.
f8 and be there… because if you aren’t there who is going to make that photograph?