The advent of digital photography gave a sense of the child in the sweetshop to old fogies like myself who had been more accustomed to buying rolls of films in various limiting sizes – 12 photographs in a roll or 24 when funds allowed and then there was the delay of a few days as the film had to be brought to a specialist photography shop, or the local pharmacy, to have it processed and the photographs printed. I bypassed this system to a degree by buying my film in bulk rolls, loading my own film cartridges and afterwards doing my own processing and printing. This reduced the costs enormously but nonetheless it was an time when photographers considered their subject matter more carefully and thought twice, at least, before taking a photograph for the number of shots was limited and the costs were relatively high.
Nowadays, photography can be a scattergun affair as the lack of cost allows us to take an unlimited number of shots. Pot luck will be with us if we take even basic reasonable care and follow some basic guidelines of photography – sun behind us, frame the shot etc etc – and it is an approach I use when photographing the grandchildren. A flick of a switch, a turn of a knob, and the camera will shoot away at a rate of ten photographs per second. I can later view these, delete the vast majority, and will probably have a few nice shots to keep. For me, it is far better than what we heard so much in years gone by, “Look at the camera!”, “Smile!”, “Say cheese!” and, of course, when there is more than one child, frustration is guaranteed in this approach. Shooting a hundred shots, deleting 95 immediately and, perhaps, keeping one or two is a far more peaceful way to photograph children and the results are more natural and certainly less stressful.
Scattergun photography happens all too regularly with me in the garden also; that temptation to shoot every single flower and plant that catches the eye; the just emerging, half-opened flower which would be far better a day or two later – and which will be photographed again then – but which I can’t resist because it is the first of the season. I also often take photographs of plants or views in the garden with some blog topic in mind and often this doesn’t materialise, so these really were photographs without a reason. This might explain why the camera I bought in April has already clocked up over 10,000 shots already and most of these were in our own garden!
Today, I tried to be more considered in my choices. I arrived back from my neighbour’s, a little muddy and sweaty; it was too late in the morning to start anything in the garden, yet too early to have lunch so I walked around to see how things were in the garden – things change from one day to the next! This walk around was without the camera and, as I walked, I certain things caught my eye and that thought of being more considered and selective was in my mind so I went, got my camera, and only photographed those selected plants. Oh, I felt so disciplined, so considered, so controlled, so full of hot air but I enjoyed it nonetheless and here are the results of my pre-lunch walk: Click on the first photograph to start a slideshow.