Monday, February 7, 2011

A. B. S.....ALWAYS BE SHOOTING, ALWAYS BE SHOOTING ( with all apologies to alec baldwin)

In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin has a relatively small but memorable role. If you have not seen the movie, it is an examination of the people who work in a real estate office. It may not seem like a great premise but in the hands of writer, David Mamet (who won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony for the original play) and a handful of great actors, including Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Alan Arkin and Ed Harris, this is one great movie. Baldwin plays a top salesmen sent out by the owners to "motivate" this sales force and his motivational technique makes for a great viewing experience, with many great lines in a 7 minute performance, one of which is  "ABC: A-Always, B-BE, C- Closing. Always be closing, always be closing". If you have not seen the movie I highly recommend that you do.

So by now your asking yourself has this blog started reviewing movies, decade old movies? Well no, but this movie and Baldwin's line came to me the other day. I was asked by a relative how did we (Phyllis and I ) become so good at our photography. Of course, my A.D.D mind ruminated on this for a long time before this line popped into it, well, a variation on it: "A.B.S.  A-Always, B-Be, S-Shooting always be shooting, always be shooting.

If you ask me how do I get better at photography, I would tell you to actually take pictures. Take your camera and use it. It seems everybody has some type of camera, from the high end DSLR to point and shoots and the telephones all of us carry.  If your camera is in your closet all the time, the chances of you getting even a good shot decreases dramatically. It is the old use it or loose it mantra. Photography is part art and part science and if you are not practicing these skills, you will not get better. Do I mean you will never take a great image? Nope, you might! Hell, with the new cameras a monkey could take a great picture if given enough time. BUT could he reproduce the same results again and again? I am willing to bet that he or anyone else could not. You might grab a really great image of a mountain range or your kids but if you do not practice, you will miss many more shots then you'll get.

With the advent of digital photography, many people can take decent images. Just set your camera to auto and shoot away. You have a good chance of getting a pretty decent image. But if you're looking for better then just a good chance at a decent image, then you need to actually practice.  If you have a DSLR and you do not practice, then why have it? Stick with the point and shoots or your phone. I think some people have one hanging around their necks for the same reasons some people buy expensive jewelry: as a sign telling the world, " See, I'm cool". I take my camera with me almost everywhere I go: a trip to the store, a restaurant, or a simple walk around my neighborhood. You will usually find my camera with me. Do I get great images every time? Of course not, but I try. It reminds me of the old joke: Two men meet on the streets of New York one asks the other, "Do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall?" The other answers, " Practice, Practice, Practice!!!" If you want to get to a high level of proficiency with your camera, I say ALWAYS BE SHOOTING!!

These images were all found shots. I was either just taking a walk or a drive and saw the image. It was not a planned location or image I had in my mind beforehand: ust having my camera with me.
These birds are Wood Storks and are seen around where I live almost everyday.
The view from the top of a parking garage. My point is that by " always be shooting" you will learn what all those buttons are on your camera for and that's a good thing. Reading the book that came with it helps, also.
I took my camera to a restaurant and saw this image on our way back to where we were staying.
Alaska 11:00 PM
A person without a camera might not even see this image on their walk on the beach. With a camera, a person hopefully sees the lines, light and simplicity of this image. Almost more importantly, it can also help you 'see' and by 'see' I mean as a photographer: to see compositions that you might not have seen before. To 'see' the light, I mean really see the light and recognize the difference of light during different parts of the day. It will allow you to get inspiration from what is out there everyday and night.
    As they say, look to the heavens for inspiration!!! I say it's as simple as A B S!!  ALWAYS BE    


Kriti said...

Loved how you tell your story ... I hadn't heard the joke in NYC - that is hilarious : ) Overall your pictures are truly remarkable - I love the birds ...

JIM said...

thnak You Kriti
I love the birds also it is one of the perks of moving here lol

Debra said...

Always Be Shooting! I'm passing this along to my daughter Abigail, who is showing an aptitude for photography. We bought her a new Canon recently, and I'll encourage her to read your timely post. Your work is so crisp and clear. Love your work, and joined your site.

JIM said...

Thank You Debra if your daughter is interested there are many great teachers online many offer free sites where you can really learn. If she is interested drop me a note and I'll send you their names.
Thank You

Motifs said... are a natural,its almost me being there...and you write very well also.

JIM said...

Thanlk You so much Motifs.. not sure if I appreciate the compliment to my photography more or writing more lol.

IdeaTraduzioni said...

having a good digital camera is like having a good electronic translator ...they help to understand, to do a quite good job but even a good translator is not Everything. Human soul and passion are the very engine to create a little masterpiece....i guess that's what happens to you JIM....Beautiful Pictures by the way:)

sulekkha said...

Your pictures are so beautiful that one day you must let them tell their own story. Lovely photographs, who clicked them, you or your better half?

Debbie said...

Jim, your pictures are awesome. I find myself thinking dang, I am in florida too... Why don't I see all those great things? Loved your statement about our cameras sitting in our closets. I just told Noah this on Saturday morning.

Thanks for sharing Jim, have a great Sunday afternoon


Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

That was a great movie. I agree wholeheartedly with this post. I always take my camera and usually both my dSLR and my Point&Shoot. If I hit nasty rainy weather the P&S is my camera of choice. Hubby holds the umbrella and I snap away :D

Dangerous Linda said...

Love it, Jim! Thank you for sharing! Besides 'Always Be Shooting' I think it's also important to have the opportunity to share photos and get feedback. I appreciate you and the cyber-space photographic community I've discovered through blogging ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim:
You're entirely right. It's the same w/any art form. The more you do something the better you're going to improve. Like you, my camera is ALWAYS w/me. You never know when that next shot is going to appear.
Thanks for the reminder!