But as much as I love photography, I haven't quite mastered the skill of it yet, which is frustrating. You'd think, as often as I carry my camera around with me, and as much effort as I put into taking pictures, that I would be great at it by now. But I'm disappointingly not.
A few weeks ago, I realized I hadn't taken any pictures of McKay's football season, so I grabbed my camera and decided I would just shoot everything. Instead of taking my usual handful of pictures, I opted for the Quantity Method and took hundreds. The more pictures you take, the more likely you are to get a good one, right? (I borrowed that method from someone else, but I'm pretty sure he isn't the first to use it.) I left that day with about 200 pictures of little boys in yellow shirts running around after a football. And after about 2 hours of editing and deleting, I ended up with a handful that weren't terrible.
On Monday when Emma needed pictures for her choir slide show, I tried the same thing. Quantity. I spent 2 hours at the school and took almost 300 pictures in a gym full of kids I didn't know, most of whom didn't even want their pictures taken, in an effort to get an adequate representation of each one in the slide show. Hours of editing, an impatient Emma watching over my shoulder, and two flash drives later, we ended up with a pretty comprehensive slide show presentation. But she only ended up using about 10% of the pictures I took.
Before, that would have been mildly discouraging. 90% is a pretty miserable failure rate.
But now, I am more sure of a few things:
- Taking pictures in a gym is ridiculously hard.
- Moving children are ridiculously hard to photograph.
- People who don't want to be photographed are ridiculously hard to photograph.
- Editing is a magical thing.
- Nobody cares about the failure rate. Nobody ever looks through my iPhoto trash nor do they even know it exists. And if I delete all the bad pictures, that makes my failure rate 0%, right?
- Not one of the photographers I admire and want to be like someday woke up one morning and magically started taking great pictures. Everyone has a trash pile.
I love wandering around with my camera. I love capturing moments and then writing about them here. I love looking at the world as if it were a photo opportunity. And I love accidentally getting an amazing shot of something.
The good thing is that life is long. The future will be filled with lots of opportunities to take pictures, and if I keep carrying my camera around and keep shooting stuff, the Quantity Method at least ensures that I'll keep getting a few good shots.