Saturday, April 14, 2012

Quality vs Quantity - The Machine Gun Shooter

I was recently sharing some funny moments with a wedding photographer*, a member of MPG, when the subject on "machine gun" shooters came up. We have all either seen them at a photo event, know one or perhaps are one. They are the type of photographer that keeps their camera on high speed continuous shooting mode and will fire off 15 frames before anyone else has finished composing their first shot.

Last year my wife and I went to the Bronx Zoo hosted by a local photography group. We were all huddled in front of the glass to the gorilla enclosure when I heard that familiar barrage of shutter clicks. I turned to see a man with a nice Nikon and a similarly impressive lens standing above the crowd casually firing burst after rapid burst of... well, of lounging gorillas.

What? The animals aren't even moving. Where is the action this guy was trying to capture? Did he see something I was missing? I don't think so as the viewing area was rather restrictive. He just stood there and did a series of about half a dozen bursts and then was off to who knows what. The whole incident took maybe a total of three minutes.

I mentioned this to the wedding photographer* and he started chuckling in that, "I know exactly what you mean," chuckle. He then told me of a similar encounter when shooting with a friend of his. It seems his buddy had a 'happy trigger finger' too. What makes it funnier is the subject was a statue.

REALLY? Come on! What kind of action shot are you trying to catch here? When confronted on it, Captain Trigger exclaimed that he loves taking lots of pictures but admitted to suffering from creativity. I wonder why.

I did a shoot last year for a restaurant. I was to shoot ten food items for their menu. The whole shoot was just over two hours long and I took exactly 20 frames. I wonder what Captain Trigger would have done under the same conditions.

Thinking back on the gorilla incident, a quick mental estimation leaves me thinking that guy walked away with about 30 to 50 exposures of maybe 6 poses. Each one of those sequences will result in an identical shot since the animals (and the statue for that matter) were not moving. Not only did he label himself an amateur, he is not taking the time to understand composition. On top of that, he is using up the battery faster and putting unnecessary wear on the camera.

While at times continuous shutter mode is handy, a stationary subject is not one of them. Reserve your trigger finger, and your equipment, for when the action warrants it. Hope you enjoyed the stories.

* Name withheld to protect the member from retribution by the guilty...

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