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Wait and Watch - then Click

I'll always remember this photography concept - Wait and Watch - presented in different ways by well known travel photographers Robert Holmes and Nevada Wier during two Mountain Light photo workshops. Robert told the story of coming across a beautiful scene in India that needed to be photographed. The light was great, the backdrop was beautiful, the colors perfect - but it needed a person to complete the story. He leaned back against a wall, waited, and watched until that person happened to walk into the scene, and then created a beautiful image. Nevada told the story of people walking across a wooden bridge in Burma, silhouetted against the sun. The story was powerful, the colors and drama were also perfect - but she needed to wait until each person had walked into the right spot on the bridge. She waited and watched for that to happen, and then when it did, created a powerful and iconic image.

Whether it's a seascape with moving waves, people walking on a bridge, or ducks waddling across a beach - it's a good thing to look, think about what you'd like to see, and wait and watch for it to happen before you click the shutter.

Here's an example of a sequence of ducks walking across a beach. There were three, the light was getting good, the waves were low, reflections were great, and who doesn't like ducks! Now how to turn the three of them into a good photograph? It's super easy to click away and hope for the best - but that doesn't normally work out. It's good to click a couple and capture the memory, but then wait and watch to see if they will compose themselves into a more powerful image. Here I followed them with my telephoto, and clicked as they walked, waiting for them to line up, separate, look the same direction, and walk into the reflected gold light. Fun stuff and a good exercise in waiting and watching!

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Jan 03, 2023

Beautiful images Bob, and good advice, be patient and wait. But, with digital one can snap until the great one happens! Stillman Rogers

Jan 03, 2023
Replying to

Many thanks Stillman! Yup on the digital thing, it's very easy to click away. I like to tell my workshop clients to always shoot with a purpose: look, compose, see, watch, and put together the photo before clicking the shutter. The "yield" of good to great photos jumps, and there are a whole lot fewer photos to edit and cull! Cheers & Grins, Dan Holmes.

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