Today’s post is more on mindset than it is directly on gear or physical how-to.  Bear in mind, though, I think that mindset is at least as important a part of technique as that other stuff, and if I’m being 100% honest, far more important.

So the idea is … be ready for anything.

OK so yes, I know that’s an impossible goal.  But it’s one toward which you can and ought to be constantly striving.

For example: if you have a camera that has the ability to pre-configure multiple settings that can be accessed with 1 or 2 dials or buttons, use it!  I have presets for action and night shooting.  Beats the hell out of 5 minutes of fussing with menus.  I used to have one for IR as well before I converted my old DSLR.  This is one of the main reasons I bought the Nikon D7000 when it came out.

Also, be mindful of what’s likely (or what you want) to happen when shooting.  If you’re driving through Yellowstone, have your wildlife lens attached – you never know when you’ll get stuck in a bear jam!

Adolescent Grizzly in Grand Teton NP
Adolescent Grizzly in Grand Teton NP

Now I know that you won’t always be able to have the right lens or setting on at the right time once in a while.  I absolutely recognize the frustration, too!  There’s nothing like a missed brilliant shot, except maybe when the person next to you manages to snag it somehow.  I’ve been known to get jealous at times, but the point is to use those experiences as a means to learn and do better the next time.

Another handy one is to have a camera phone on you.  Those come in useful more often than you’d believe.  In fact, about a year after the original iPhone came out, there was a photographer (whose name escapes me, but he had a write up in Outdoor Photographer magazine) who produced an entire book of fine art photos from his iPhone.  Which to be clear, is downright stone-age compared to the phone you’re probably using right now.

By way of another example, the utility of smartphones …

Leaf blower in National Forest

Yeah, that’s what you think it is.

A leaf blower.

In a National Forest.

A leaf blower, in the freakin’ woods!

Can we spell “OCD?”

Point being: had I not had my phone handy I’d have had to open the car, drag out my rig and get the right lens on, and almost certainly alert this brilliant individual to what I was up to.  Being sneaky pays off!

And so does thinking ahead and making sure you’re as ready as you can be.

Don’t worry if you stumble on this road!  ‘Cuz you will, I guaran-damn-tee it.  But learn from it and do better so that next time you’ll be the one the newbies are grumbling at because you got the shot and they didn’t

Happy shooting!

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