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Jul 15, 2019
Well this is for me! Those of you that have 'followed' me for a while know that over the years I've had different ways to keep you informed of my happenings, so what can you expect from my new format?
You'll be hearing from me on a more consistent basis, with information on new image releases and new galleries as I travel and create them, along with a 'focus' on a specific image detailing the story behind the photo. I'll also keep you up to speed with new workshops and tours, hoping that you'll join me and to tempt you in to adding one (or more) of my images to your collection.
So, to get us started, I'd like to share the story behind the photo that gets the most oohs and aahs at shows: Life's a Breach.
I like it so much, it's the inspiration for my logo and was a very memorable moment in time. It's the shot I went out to take that day. And I got it!!
I'd always dreamed of capturing a photo of a whale breaching, and I call this one 'Life's a Breach'! It was one of those moments in time that made an impact on me, and the memory of it will last forever. This is a Humpback whale and they visit the coast off the island of Maui every year from November to May (although you may see a few in October, too) and we've been on countless whale watch experiences there and we've never been disappointed.
But here's the thing: when I'm speaking to groups and giving my presentation about learning to shoot like a pro, the question I ask is, "How many of you think this was a lucky shot?" Without fail, the majority of the participants raise their hand! I've even had people at shows say wow, lucky shot!!
Yeah, those are fighting words!!
Here's why. When you are a professional photographer you spend years educating yourself and learning techniques, to be in the right place at the right time, with the right gear, using the right settings to capture the image just the way you want. Luck had very little to do with capturing this image.
On any shoot, I meter the light constantly to make sure my exposure is correct. I adjust settings on the fly, meaning I don't take the camera away from my eye, but I track focus, light, and composition as I shoot, and my fingers and thumbs are working those dials and buttons as I shoot! This means HOURS of working my camera to know how to adjust settings without looking at it.It takes practice, as does any profession.
Also, I'd been on enough whale watching trips to know a few things about whales! I know my subject matter. I know that when a whale breaches, there's a VERY good chance it will breach one or two more times in a series. The other thing is, when a breach is about to happen, the water above the whale starts to flatten, so an otherwise choppy ocean, suddenly becomes very calm. In anticipation of this whale's second breach, I saw that happen about 30 yards away and I focused my camera on that spot!
Once the whale broke the surface I was ready and I started shooting. I captured seven shots, every one in focus, not using the camera's burst mode, but by pushing the shutter release button so I could track focus without losing the image in my DSLR (If you're interested in understanding that, shoot me an email)
I also had a captain that was an amateur photographer, so he knew the importance of positioning the boat in a place where the light was working with me instead of against me. And oh, we were in a small zodiac being rocked in EVERY direction by the ocean, sideways, up, down and around all at once. And I was standing and shooting.....
By the end of the presentation I ask my audience again. Is this a Lucky shot?...not a single one raises their hands. OK, there was a little luck. I had no idea that when the whale came out of the sea it would present itself in such a fabulous way. But everything else about capturing this shot was planned.
I hope that's given you an insight in to my methodology, but just as importantly, helped you understand why it's my favorite all time photo. It takes pride of place on my wall, and if you'd like it on yours, you can follow this link: Life's a Breach Photo
I'd recommend a high gloss metal finish to bring out the vibrant colors!
All the best
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