Monday, August 9, 2010

The One that Got Away

Before I bought my first DSLR and was still vascillating between film and digital as my choice for serious photography (perhaps 2007), I borrowed a friend's Panasonic DMC-FZ30K, an 8 MP SLR-like fixed-lens digital camera, and took it to the Woodlands Cemetery in West Philly to do some gravestone photography. While there, I was surprised to find two roaming herds of deer!

Now, the Woodlands is a small, heavily wooded (250 acre) urban cemetery bounded by city on all sides. Where the deer came from, will forever puzzle historians. I spent an hour or so shooting them (pun intended) from ever-decreasing distances, until I ended up about 20 feet away from them. Obviously somewhat wary of their natural predators (man), I did most of my shooting from this distance.

The Panasonic seemed to produce decent images--as it should, being a $600 camera! However, it had that time lag common to even the least expensive digital point-and-shoots. After following the two herds around, I made the photograph above of the buck. Decent, I'm happy. But I was not prepared for what happened next. The alpha male of the other herd, in an attempt at world domination, lowered its antlers and charged the buck you see in the upper photo!

Camera at the ready, I focused on the still deer and waited for the impact (so very Cartier-Bresson of me...). At the decisive moment, I pressed the shutter release, and -- nothing! No response from the camera! Missed it, the blasted thing! Was it that digital delay, or "buck fever?" It's tough to be objective when your finger's on the trigger. However, looking at the display, I saw a message you never want to see at the crucial moment--"Memory Card Full." Without a doubt, the greatest photograph I never made.

For a review of the Panasonic DMC-FZ30K, see my "PhotographerCoach" website. please click here.

For a peek at Ed's book, "Stone Angels -- A Celebration of the Mourning Arts," click here!

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