Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Precise Moment

To photograph is to hold one's breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It's at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.
Henri Cartier-Bresson

Yesterday I returned to Preston Castle to shoot yet again. As I climbed through the building I wondered how I could capture a scene to make it unique from my other trips. I entered into the open tower area not expecting much. Suddenly there was a rustle of feathers and a great white wing span over head. Startled I thought a seagull had gotten in. Then I realized, I was looking at an owl. The poor creature tried to get out, but there wasn't an easy escape route so he returned to the rafters. My camera was on a large tripod and as luck would have it I had my 600mm lens on. Ever so slowly I tried to bring him into sights. Unfortunately there were tours going on so noise was constant and he started again and again. But I quietly waited, sitting on the ground and gently refocused the camera every time he moved (thank goodness for Olympus' live view). Finally he settled overhead and looked down at me. Holding my breath I pressed the remote release again and again. I was rewarded with two good photos. One is above. I understood, really emotionally understood for the first time in four years of study what Henri Cartier-Bresson meant by "the decisive moment". Having experienced it, it's like a high that I want to experience again and again. For a moment I could see the world through my subjects eyes and it was perfect.

Aicelle Santos, "Make Me Believe":


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