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Category Archives: Photographer

The New York Post earlier this week carried a photo of a man who had been pushed onto the subway track seconds before a train hit and killed him.

A photographer for the Post later said in an interview, “I couldn’t have done anything.”  So he took a gut-wrenching photo of the man seconds before his demise.

This has stirred up a debate about one’s duty as a photographer in cases of emergency.

To my mind, if one can actually do something to save a life or prevent injury, that should be one’s priority. If one cannot do those things, take the picture … there will be no second chance. But distributing that picture is a different matter. It’s not a matter of professional ethics, but of personal morality and consideration, not to mention taste.

I have personally put the camera down numerous times out of respect for the Amish’s religion-based desire not to be photographed. One occasion still galls me — a flock of Amish women and girls pedaling along a country road, bonnets and aprons flying. A wonderful shot, and I didn’t take it. Do I feel smug? Self-righteous? No. Deprived of a great photo op? Yes. Regretful? Slightly. Satisfied I did the right thing? You bet.

What do you think?  To shoot or not to shoot, that is the question.

In the shot below, the boy turned into the frame just as I pressed the shutter.  He can’t be identified, so I felt free to use the shot.  What would you have done?

DSC00962 Boy in a #2004C62F

If readers have tips to offer, please let me know.  Tips should deal with a single subject, be about 125 words or less, and have at least one photo that directly illustrates the point being made.

Want more tips?  Buy Explorations in Photography today!  Print version is $35.95, available here and as an e-book for $9.95 here

On Black Friday this year, go shooting, not shopping!  If you want to capture a wide range of human emotions, there’s no better place than Black Friday sales.  They’re crowded, they’re stressful, and security guards aren’t going to hassle you if you’re discrete — unless your luck is lousy.

Here’s how to go about it.  You want a small, discrete camera, and you want to move fast.  These shots are fleeting, so fast autofocus is a must.  Camera bodies like the Nikon D5100 or the D600 (or even my D800) work well, when used with a not very obvious lens.

You also want a small, very fast lens, f1.8, 2.0, or even f1.5  That’s because the lighting is uneven and usually lousy.  A Nikon 50mm f1.4 or (my favorite) f1.8 28mm lens works well.  (That’s the lens I used to take the shot below). The other important virtue of these lenses is that they’re low-profile, not like some honking great 300 mm prime.  You want to be discrete.

The wide-angle lens helps you to be discrete.  So does shooting from your waist or hip, rather than eye-level.  More stealthy is good.

You might even get some shots that will make the news!

Note:  News photos (editorial use) do not require model releases, but any commercial use does.

Want more tips?  Buy Explorations in Photography today!  Print version is $35.95, available here and as an e-book for $9.95 here

Most of us photographers like to charge ahead to get to that waterfall or interesting outcrop or special vantage point.  And often we get the shot.


But what about the shots we miss by not turning around and looking behind us from time to time?


It really pays to make checking your back-angle a regular discipline.  It may just let you capture the unusual photo, the road less traveled, or a viewpoint everybody else has missed.


Here are two pairs, forward and back, shot on the same day in Maui.  They show the climate change as you head south past Hana on a circumnavigation of the island.

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Want more tips?  Buy Explorations in Photography today!  Print version is $35.95, available here and as an e-book for $9.95 here


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