All images Copyright Dave Simpson Photography Ltd

Finding time to capture the decisive moment

Photography is about capturing a moment: something that happens in a split of a second frozen in time by your camera.

Capturing that special moment when everything lines up nicely requires a rare combination of technical skills, prior planning and most importantly luck.  Depending on what the kind of photography, it means being in the right place at the right time.  That might mean getting out of bed early to see a sunrise, or driving across town to a community event which has photo potential.

I visited the Wildlife Photographer Of The Year exhibition in Auckland at the weekend and i was struck by the lengths those amazing photographers went to capture those amazing photos of animals doing amazing things.

But who of us has time to do that?  We all have other things like family, work, chores, facebook etc which seems to take up all our spare time.  All Most of those are really important, so how can we find time to take photos?

I’m lucky – i have a very lovely and understanding wife who lets me go out on photographic adventures a couple of times a month.   But i still manage to take photos everyday.  For me, photography means keeping my eyes open for interesting things as I go about your every day life.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, considered by many to be the father of photojournalism is credited with calling that moment when everything falls in to place to create the perfect photograph ‘the decisive moment’.  But more than that, he noted “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment”

So, whenever you have a few spare moments, look at what’s around you.  Don’t just look, but take a photo.

And more even than that.  Increase the potential for those special moments by doing things you normally wouldn’t.  Walk a different way to work.  Get the bus rather than drive.  Go for a walk at lunchtime.  Sit still in the park and look (and listen).

I was out with the family on Saturday and at one point i had 45 minutes to myself to wander around some shops.  Instead i walked around the street taking some photos (including this one).  Sure, not my best work.  But i had a lot more fun in those 45 minutes than if i’d just been sitting in a cafe reading the paper!


So, my challenge to you, is to look for those small moments of trapped time that would otherwise have been wasted and turn them in to something golden.  capture the moment however mundane.

here’s a lovely quote i saw at another exhibition, this time for Robin Morrison


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