The Compulsion to Click the Shutter

This post is not about the desire to go out and make photos, it is about the compulsion to just click.

About a year ago, I was attending a workshop in Oregon.  I drove down from Seattle (about a 5 hour drive from where we were) while the rest of the group had flown in from the east coast, most from near DC.  So for me, there was significantly less planning required to get to where we were currently shooting.

On the 3rd day of the workshop, someone made the comment that I was almost always the last person to set up and start shooting.  To which I added, that I would also sometimes not even get my camera unpacked.  I realized that if I found something I liked, I could fairly easily get back to the location at a later date.  The others did not have that luxury.  For the others to return to that spot, they would need to catch a once per day, 5.5 hour flight from DC to Portland, OR, rent a car, and then drive 3 more hours.

This was the first time I had thought about it, but after this moment, all I could see was everyone else running from the cars and shooting their cameras in all directions.  I did not have the desire to shoot for the sake of shooting and look at it all on the computer with the hopes of getting something good or the fear of missing something important.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve certainly had good photos come as the result of the shotgun approach in the past.  But knowing why I hit the shutter every time I hit the shutter is good, and this was the first time I realized I was slowing down and looking.

I am not talking about playing with a scene.  I’ve certainly felt like I saw something but couldn’t put my finger on what I wanted, so I set up the camera and took a shot to see how it looked.  I find this helps me compose the image.

With that, here is one of my favorite images from the trip.

-M

Leaves near Elowah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

One thought on “The Compulsion to Click the Shutter

Leave a Reply