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  1. #1

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    The Shot That Got Away

    Today I went to the public library to check out some photography books. Before doing so, I noticed an interesting looking black man with distinct features and a kinky afro who looked to be in his mid thirties to early forty's seated in a chair, legs crossed, intently reading a book. I immediately ran outisde and retrieved my Pentax K-1000 from my vehicle.

    Upon my return, I promptly sat at a table directly in front of him no more that 10 feet away. I removed my camera from its case along with books from my bag and acted as though I was reading them as a means of learning how to use the camera; all the while sniping shots of him as he read.

    Then it happened. An elderly white woman sat in the next chair to the immediate right of him. She looked to be in her early seventies. Their was maybe an 8 feet gap between the both of them. She was wearing 1960's style clothes and eye glasses, with a hairdo that matched the time period. I immediately knew that I had the shot of a lifetime. I already had visions of the awards that I would win with this photograph.

    I promptly switched to my wide angle lense so that I could get the both of them in the frame. I waited, cautiously looked through the viewfinder; adjusted my aperture and shutter speed. I hesitated a bit, so not to alarm her, slowly advanced the film to the next frame, gazed through the viewfinder. Before I could pull the trigger, she became nervous, and moved to the other side of the library; thus leaving me in the grief stricken frame of mind that I am now in.

    I started to tell her that there was no film in the camera, but I was already feeling guilty for sniping shots of the man who was reading so I said nothing. Along with the fact that I do not like to lie.

    Originally I was not going to bring my camera with me. Half of me is happy I did because of the intersting shots I captured (sniped) of the man reading, while the other half wishes I hadn't because of the shot that got away.

    Does anyone else have a similar story?
    Last edited by jamusu; 01-04-2008 at 11:54 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    I was riding my push bike somewhere on the East Cape (North Island, NZ), and I met this fellow on the road...an older Maori, with an old hoe in his hand. He was heading to a field to hand-chop some weeds down. He sat down along the edge of the road and we talked for a bit until a car load of locals came by and stopped to talk. I said my good-byes and pedaled off.

    I have often thought about how good of a picture it would have been to photograph the old man, sitting on the side of the road, tool in his arms and a geniune smile on his face. But then I think about how "National Geographic" the shot would have been, and am glad I just have the memory instead.

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  3. #3

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    Vaughn.

    Thank you!

    Your story has changed my mood for the better. Not because you had a shot that got away also, that would be mean. It was what you said about the having the memory. I guess it truly is about the memory and overall experience as a whole, rather than not capturing a specific part of it on film. At least I was able to capture half of it. I will think of what you said when this happens to me again. Hopefully it will.

    Jamusu.

  4. #4
    Shawn Dougherty's Avatar
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    so many opportunities have gotten away... I concentrate on the ones that didn't, they're real.

  5. #5
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    But, man, Jamusu, I can't remember the situation, but I remember the feeling that what I saw I truly connected with emotionally and was so overwhelmed that I forgot to wind on the next negative and missed the shot and I was so dejected. No, disappointed. And still overwhelmed simultaneously. I had forgotten. It is still a potent memory, sensorily anyway. A most odd memory. But I know just how you feel. Concentrate on the connection part and always be on the lookout for an opportunity to repeat the feeling, the emotion, the connection. And next time, just push the damn button and run like hell.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
    APUG BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE
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    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  6. #6

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    Chris.

    I wanted to push the button, but it happened extremely quickly, around ten seconds, but it seemed like ten years. Strangely, everything slowed down. It was as if time was moving in slow motion. Plus we were in the public library and I did not want her to make a scene. The K-1000 shutter is loud enough as it is; I dont' know how I pulled it off. I fired off at least twelve shots over a ten minute span with a librarian no more than 5 feet away from me. I guess they were fooled by my acting as though I was learning how to use the camera.

    When the elderly woman made it to her new location and sat down (around 20 feet away), I locked in my zoom lens and sniped her out of spite. I set my camera on Bulb and held the shutter open for 30 seconds. Her back was facing me so she had no idea.

    Quegita.
    Last edited by jamusu; 01-05-2008 at 12:10 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7

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    I sat at the end of a breakwater once watching a really young couple sitting wrapped in a sleeping bag watching a big cruise ship go by just off the end of the breakwater. I tried to shoot it but it was late night - pitch black - and just couldn't do the scene justice. Whatever - it was some artsy-fartsy pseudo-romance kind of message anyway - youth, dreaming of possibilities, cruise ships to faraway romantic lands, that kind of crap. I could have titled it "DREAMING" or something. Hah!
    The universe is a haunted house. -Coil
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  8. #8
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Jamusu,

    We photograph for many reasons. One of those reasons is the ego rush of making an image that others will oh and ah over and make us feel proud. The missed shots really give our old egos a setback.

    We (or at least, I) also photograph in order to learn how to see the world around us in a more clear manner. The "missed" shots are not really missed...they become part of our mental collection of images that we can draw upon to further ourselves in this quest to see more clearly. That old Moari has been part of my visual vocabulary for the past twenty years.

    Before I spent the 5+ months on the push bike in NZ with my 4x5, I had traveled to NZ 5 years earlier -- hitchhiking around NZ for 3 months with a 4x5 with a massive light leak. Talk about shots that got away (talk about being an idiot!) But I had looked at the light, exposed the film, and then printed the images in my mind while waiting for the next ride -- usually walking for miles along the roads. The success of the second trip was made possible by the seeing, the photographing and the memory of the images that "got away" on the first trip.

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  9. #9
    gr82bart's Avatar
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    Hmmm .... thinking if I should write what I'm thinking ... hmmm ....

    Regards, Art.
    Visit my website at www.ArtLiem.com
    or my online portfolios at APUG and ModelMayhem

  10. #10

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    I ALWAYS keep a camera with me - except ONCE. I'd had a late evening shoot in the studio and had to be back in very early the next morning. As I was packing up from the shoot at about 10:30 pm I thought: "No point in taking the camera - won't see anything between now and 7 tomorrow morning." WRONG!! Next morning, I was sitting at a traffic light looking at the sky which had that pre-dawn light. I noticed a plane with its lights on heading my way. The lights on it seemed excessively bright and suddenly a light appeared at the rear and a beautifully lit contrail came from the back. I leapt out of the car, (it was clearly a UFO??!!) and went for my camera - wasn't there! The thing got brighter and brighter until, almost above me it exploded - just like the images of the shuttle tragedy - clear dark blue sky, sunrise illuminating the the white explosion and the contrails. And I could only stand there like a dummy! Turned out it was the re-entry of an old Russian space craft. Needless to say, I have a loaded P&S in the center consoles of BOTH my cars now!

    Strange, (and highly embarrassing) what happens when you don't take your own advice!

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