Photo Tip Friday (on Saturday!)

For this week’s “photo tip Friday” (OK… I know it’s Saturday, but I’ve been working on this post since yesterday!) I want to talk to you about ambushing.

I think for the type of stuff that I like to take pictures of – landscapes, some wildlife and some action sports – ambushing the subject is a great way to capture something special.

When it comes to landscapes – what you’re really ambushing is the light.  As you work an area with your camera – take note of key features, something that would lend itself to a strong composition.   Check the sun, and if there are fast moving clouds, get ready!  If you find something that will help you to create a fantastic image, get into position early, get set – and then wait for that fleeting moment of good light.  There have been several images that I’ve created where the light was only conducive to what I wanted for a handful of seconds.  Because I was ready… I got the shot.   So, learn to ambush the light!

If you’re after wildlife, you can observe patterns of the critters you’re chasing down.  Pay attention to the geography – is the animal moving someplace that will make a better image?  Get in front of the animal and take the shot!  A good example of this would be the black bear image in my previous post.  I spotted the bear in one spot, ran to get my camera and then moved ahead to the only place the bear could have been moving to.  I got in position, he sauntered up and viola!  Keep in mind, however, that critters are not nearly as predictable as the sun, but if you know what you’re hunting, know their patterns and haunts – you’re going to significantly increase the chances of a good shot.

For sports – it really helps to know the subject!  As I’m a competitive shooter and used to  race bicycles – I really enjoy taking pictures of my fellow shooters and racers.  Thanks to that experience, it’s pretty easy to scan the scene, figure out where the athletes will be coming to me and get set up to ambush them as they come into view.  What I see a lot of folks do is try to capture everything – well, you just can’t do it!! Pick the best spot (or two) that’s going to give you the best results and make your time count.  It helps if you’ve already visualized in your head what kind of shot you want to get – and then once you scope out the scene you can figure out how best to get ahead and ambush your target.

Together with visualization and ambushing your target, you’re going to greatly improve your chances of getting a stellar shot rather than just getting out there and getting lucky. 🙂


~ by Derrick Birdsall on April 28, 2012.

4 Responses to “Photo Tip Friday (on Saturday!)”

  1. Great tips, Mr. B!
    And I think you’re right about that! Which is probably why I wind up resorting to still-life so often… it’s about the only kind of subject I can keep / catch-up with!

  2. I’ve never heard it referred to as “ambushing” but yes, the term is appropriate! 🙂

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