A fellow Kuching blogger has blatantly claimed that: capturing a good photograph is nothing more than just clicking the shutter release button.
I do not know how exactly did he come up with such an idea, or how anyone are so easily led to believe in that perception. It sounded as if photography is effortless. Supposing it was that easy, I believe everyone can be good photographers already.
I am in no position to voice up my opinion regarding this matter, since I still consider myself rather fresh to the photography world. Nonetheless, I just could not help it but felt cut when someone mentioned that photography is in any way, easy. I strongly believe that, in order to produce a good photograph, there are a lot more elements to be taken into account besides just clicking the shutter button.
So you think that, by holding a DSLR in hand, just looking through the viewfinder, twiddling with some settings, getting your focus checked, then releasing the shutter and viola, the wonderful image is captured. Ask yourself this: Is that stretch of processes the only part of photography involved? Is that the MOST important part of photography? Is that the part of photography that determines how good your photography work is?
Photography is a lot more than merely converting light signals travelling through the optical elements of your lens and being converted into digital signals to build up a viewable image on your computer screen.
Allow me to demonstrate with a set of photographs which I have taken recently. It may not be award-winning, or magazine print worthy, but it was up to a level that I felt I was quite satisfied with. Of course, as we grow along with our course, we will raise up the expectations we set upon ourselves.
So that was a picture of a butterfly with droplets of waters on the eye. How hard can it be to obtain this simple looking photography? How was that single shot performed?
Here goes the story.
I was at the butterfly park (in one of my recent frequent sessions) and while I was eagerly shooting, it started raining. It was down pouring so heavily that the water was practically gushing along the walkway pavements, flooding up to my ankles. Normally in such situation, people would run back to the shed, and hide from the rain. I did just the opposite. Rain, so what?
1) I switched my lens from the 40-150mm (tele-zoom) to 35mm (macro), and mounted the external flash on top of the camera.
2) I made sure my Kata DR-467 bag was fully zipped up and properly wrapped with the weather-sealing cover. (gotta love this bag, thanks Yiaw Wei)
3) Popped open a mini-foldable umbrella that I always carry around for some shelter…
4) And stormed out into the rain looking for butterflies
Call me nuts, but it was what it took to make this shot happen. And I was glad I did just that, because I believe it would be difficult to find similar shots ever again.
The rain was so ungodly heavy that I soaked even my boxers. My balls shrank to the size of raisins. The umbrella was not for myself, but merely providing enough shed for my camera plus the working distance required to the butterfly. I made this shot happen single-handedly, by full manual focus, with full manual settings. I was shooting in such cold and wet condition where the rain was splashing everywhere on me, with horrible unfriendly wind blowing every direction. I made my way to get as close as 5cm away from the butterfly, set my focus, steadied the camera with just one hand while the other was holding the umbrella which was constantly being frantically shaken by the hysterical wind…
finally, after all this trouble…
I clicked the shutter release button.
And I clicked again. And again. And some of them happened to be the photographs displayed here.
And you think that was all in the story?
I have wanted to make this shot happen in the first place, it was not a spur of the moment thing, and I did not spontaneously come up with the idea at the scene.
I have already had the concept of what I wanted in mind from the beginning, and planned carefully to obtain the shot. The morning dew in butterfly park was hopeless, it did not create much dramatic effect at all on the butterflies. I know I could create more stunningly natural images if I venture into the wild, but like I said, I am not up to that level just yet.
I believe that, if you want bad enough to make something happen, you will find a way to make it happen. I needed, and anticipated the rain to bathe the butterfly for the water-drop effects and prepared myself for it. My camera bag comes with weather-sealing, and I brought an umbrella along. I have been in more terrible situations of course (no thanks to Jasonmumbles and his fireworks in thunderstorm assignment) and I knew well enough of what I was getting into.
In short, I was well prepared.
But honestly, the first time you saw these photographs in this entry, have you even come across in mind all the preparation and trouble I went through to get those shots? If your answer is yes then I believe you are a much better photographer than I am.
You see, this is the sad case for photographers. You only see their end results. You do not see the long story that lies behind the photograph. You do not see the moments leading to the “click of the shutter button”. And this was just a humble beginner’s attempt in more interesting macro photography. And it was NOT easy in any way for me. I cannot imagine at what impossible lengths the professionals would go to obtain the shots they make in… say the National Geographic.
So guys, do you still think that a photograph is just nothing more than a click of the shutter button?
Tell me that in front of my face and I will make sure you find pieces of my shattered lens elements cutting your most beloved body part wide open.