Be prepared to wait…

In a big city like London, you never know what is going to appear around the corner next. Numerous times I’ve found that that if you wait for long enough, the exact thing that you want to make a picture work, actually appears. To greater or lesser degrees of success. More often than not, it’s just an OK picture, but other times, it’s way more successful.

Bond Street Elvis. Copyright: Mike Kemp

Bond Street Elvis. Copyright: Mike Kemp

Sometimes that thing never comes along, so you have to judge how long you will give it, how much time you have… Whether you could come back again to the same situation and try again… Sometimes you can be lucky in quick time, and other times you end up swaying on your feet. But do be prepared to wait. 

For the right picture it’s certainly worth it.

In the frame this week, I spent my time waiting for the right thing to pass for about half an hour. During that time, I was testing various compositions and framing with people passing by. I’d suggest this as an excellent way to spend your time, and improve the frame so you are ready when Elvis walks around the corner, straight into your frame. I was using a fixed 28mm lens and trying to incorporate the full height of the printed model, and the nice light falling on the flowers, while retaining enough space for when the right figure arrived. Enjoy getting yourself into a position that makes the frame work best, that’s part of the joy of working with prime lenses.

And how long are you prepared to wait for…?

My record in one position is about 1 hour and 25 minutes, but there are a few places I kept going back to adding up to a lot more than this. And I certainly know of photographers who will keep trying for weeks for something very specific. And getting their desired picture to great effect.

You can decide how much time you’re prepared to wait for, and judge if it’s really worth it. You’ll get to know these limits yourself as you work and no doubt, just like me, as you walk away, you’ll look back just in case ‘the’ moment happens as you leave, half expecting the exact same model in the exact same dress to walk past… But don’t let it get to you; what you didn’t see needn’t exist. Some photographers say they keep their eyes down when they are changing rolls of film, as they’d rather not know what they are missing during their pit stop. 

So, next time you find a great situation, give it enough time, and for the right picture, Elvis may just walk into your frame.

Have a great week!