As time flies at my current assignment – I’ve begun planning for my next writing assignment – to Central America this spring. It’s too early to nail down some of the specifics like housing, or begin making appointments for interviews – but it’s never to early to test out my equipment.
For each trip, as I gain more and more experience with the more technical aspects (photography and video), I’ve upgraded my cameras and other equipment.
With my first book – I didn’t know enough to even realize how ill-prepared I was – to capture the images and the moments that now serve as some of the most breathtaking and rewarding parts of my work. I used a borrowed camera and didn’t even have a laptop – I spent all of my evenings in various internet cafes transcribing my notes.
Some of my more lasting images – like the photo above, which served as the cover of the first edition of the Cartagena book were just luck. My camera was a hit-or-miss affair – that sometimes worked, and sometimes didn’t.
But as I continued writing, and working – I learned from my mistakes. One (borrowed) camera became (with the help of eBay), two cameras. Then two cameras, and video..
More importantly, I learned to become more aggressive in my photo-taking. Take ten – if you want one good one.. Lean in more to get the shot, use a stool (or two) if needed – and use the Zoom! Stop worrying if you are annoying the surgeon* with photo-taking – and get in there to get the shot that matters.
Now the photo above – is a good example.. It’s edited (for patient privacy and such) but the unedited version shows the surgeon making his initial incision. Of course, I got this photo due to an accommodating anesthesiologist who encouraged me to get in there and get close with my zoom lens.
Now, I will never be a professional photographer, which takes years of training – but I have now taken thousands and thousands of photos, so I am learning little by little. I’ve also upgraded to better equipment – which allows me to experiment with different lens and manual settings such as shutter speed and light settings.
With my latest camera – I have been going out on every possible occasion to practice, practice, practice. I had a three-day weekend, so we headed out-of-town for just that purpose – kind of ”a photography adventure”.
Now, we’re in the south for my current assignment, so we thought it would be interesting to capture some images from the Marti Gras parades – lots of color, movement and an interesting cast of characters.
It’s easy to find some of the flaws in my photos, but it was good practice (and fun too!).
Now I love this next photo – I just think that this dancer (in the center) projects such confidence and star power..
But my very favorite, is probably this next one..
My husband also likes this more formal composition from this weekend – away from the parades, beads and celebrations..
But he’s a bit of a romantic, eh?
Hopefully, all this practice will serve me in good stead on my next writing project. In the meantime, I’ll keep snapping away.
For more Marti Gras photos – see my slideshow..
* Before, I was often SO timid that I was too shy/ embarrassed to get some of the photos I needed. (If I hadn’t been so shy – and had just asked – I would have realized – that most of the time, (as long as you are not completely obnoxious – or bursting the flash all over the place) that most surgeons are pretty oblivious during surgery – because their focus is elsewhere (as it should be.) So they don’t mind if you take tons of photos.. (Notably, I also only very rarely, use my flash in the operating room – because I do think that is very distracting! – and of course, I ALWAYS ask permission..)