Unless you do studio work where conditions can be controlled, it is always a challenge to be at the right place at the right time to capture magical scenes with your camera. You never know when fleeting moments are going to present themselves. And sometimes they are happening right there around you, but they are missed because of a lack of focus or your attention is on a different subject altogether. You have to be ready. Vigilant! And remember to look behind you.
The photograph above illustrates this tip. It is one of series that I took of this darling little girl, walking through a field of tall grass, leisurely picking a handful of dandelions to give to her mom. I would have never anticipated this scene and captured these precious moments in time if I had not simply turned around 180 degrees.
Of all places, this particular moment in time was at the Large Animal Research Station, in Fairbanks, Alaska. We were there to photograph muskoxen, caribou, and reindeer. Unfortunately, the double-walled fence, along with restrictive barriers that keep you back several feet from the fencing, made it extremely challenging to take any decent pictures of the animals. Some of us decided to go up to the top of an outdoor amphitheater to see if we could get a view over the tall fence. That strategy was satisfactory for the animals that were located off in the distance.
Since my knee replacement, I have to admit that I am a bit preoccupied with the potential of falling down. I make sure of my footing so I don’t take a tumble. When I carefully adjusted my stance at the top of the amphitheater, I happened to glance and notice what was going on behind me. In an overgrown field next to the visitor’s trail was this little girl, picking a dandelion bouquet. It was a precious and picturesque moment that would have totally escaped me if I had not simply looked. It would have been an opportunity lost, and I would have been none the wiser.
The moral of the story is that there are times when you think the best subject matter is in front of you. But it could actually be right behind you. You just have to remember to look.