One of the mysteries if life is when people and myself get confused about the obvious. I was taking pictures at a glorious sunrise (a special event, I am more suited to sunsets) with a group of facebook friends. Facebook friends are special by the way, there are many and I just make a note on my site saying “sunrise at 06h30 at the Pier – be there!” and hey presto I am not alone. It is nice not being alone, there is someone to talk to apart from myself and, like a surfer welcoming another surfer in the water using the theory that he has improved his odds by 50% of not being eaten by a shark, I have diminished my odds of being mugged by at least 80%.
Being with a group also means self confidence; you see others taking pictures and you join in the creative moment. If the place chosen where you meet with was chosen well it also means that you are looking at something visually special to capture with your camera. It means sharing thoughts and information, if you are unsure of camera settings you can just ask and if you are unsure of what to photograph you can just stand back and look to see what the others are doing. Perhaps they are photographing the right thing or you can see the obvious that they have missed.
I am secure in the knowledge that all the pictures will always be different and unless you look for someone else’s tripod marks and happen to share the same equipment set on the same settings with the same filter and the front of your lens sharing the same amount of dirt at the same time as the other person, the pictures will be different! A lot of people worry about this copying aspect but really it does not happen. If you should see a magic image that will create income and fame for you by all means go back on your own later, I am sure I would do the same if it was really good.
The chat afterwards, just before we disperse, is important too. This is when you pick up what people think and what went wrong. Last time it became a debate in my head between tripods and the horizon. Someone mentioned that their tripod is clunky and cumbersome and that their horizons are mostly skew. Mine were too. I think I have owned about 14 tripods in my photographic career. They all gave skew horizons. Given these odds I am pretty sure that the fault does not lie with us or our tripods and the chances are excellent that the horizon is actually skew.
ps: I wonder what has happened to all my tripods over the years. I can hardly move in my study because of all the camera bags but the two working and one broken tripod are waiting to fall on me and try to break my legs. Where are the other 11? Is there a heaven they go to when they have injured or destroyed a certain quota of photographers lives or spirits?
pps: Anyone want to go take pictures over the weekend? Think the rain is over!