Well, there might be a few other key factors, too, but being prepared will help you capture those great moments or scenes that will only live on in your memory if you don’t have the means to capture them in a photograph.
Take Monday, for example. I was traveling the back roads from Lancaster, PA, to my home in New Market, MD, when I came across this amazing field of sunflowers at the peak of bloom. Every one was perfect. They were about 18″ high, and there were several acres of them. I was able to pull over into the parking lot of the post office and walk across the street and into the field. There were sunflowers as far as the eye could see.
Nowadays, most people have at least a camera phone with them. It is a good substitute for a higher megapixel camera, but if you can keep a camera in the car, you’ll have more options at hand. The scene may call for the use of autobracketing to get an HDR photo; you may need to change to a faster shutter speed to capture the action of a bird in flight; you may certainly need a larger file capable of a higher resolution for making a large print of the amazing scene you just shot. If possible, consider keeping a fairly high end point-and-shoot in the car, along with either a spare charged battery or the battery charger itself, if you have an outlet in the car. Or, if you have an “old” DSLR in a drawer at home, store it and the charger in your car.
Personally, I always have my Nikon P7700 in my purse, so that it is ready to go whenever I see a great photo opportunity. When I travel, I always have my DSLR, and I try to keep it right up front with me. That’s how I got this great shot of the farm when the rays suddenly streamed down from the heavens and lit up the barn and silo below. Luckily, I was able to pull over on the highway to get the shot.
Speaking of traveling the back roads, that is one other great piece of advice for finding photo ops. The super highways may afford some nice views, but they do not afford you the opportunity to decide to pull over and get the shot. At least, I certainly don’t advise it. I have found some of my best shots on the back roads.
The photographs you’ll remember best are often the photographs you didn’t get to take. Sometimes, it’s because you just can’t stop on the road to take it, like the time I was traveling across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. There was a gorgeous full moon positioned right between the suspension uprights on the bridge. It would have been a contest winner for sure. But there was no way I could stop to take it.
Just don’t let the lack of a camera be your reason for not being able to take the shot. Be prepared. Always Bring Camera. Even if the shot doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, at least you gave it your best effort; and sometimes, you’ll have a winner.
“Life Through My Lens” is a travel/photography blog written by Cam Miller, copyright 2013
Email: cam.miller@comcast. net