One traditional school of thought when making photographs is capturing the ‘decisive moment.’
This moment is arbitrary, but in theory it is the instant in time when the elements in the composition are at their optimum relation to one another.
When I work with my old Rolleiflex to photograph moving trains this is a good philosophy. I’ll carefully consider all the elements in the frame, and wait, with shutter poised, until the train is at its optimum point, and ‘click.’
Some time later, often days or weeks later, I’ll process the film. Maybe I got what I was hoping to capture, maybe not.
Such is not the case with my Fujifilm X-T1. The relative cost of exposing one digital frame versus a dozen is inconsequential as compared to film. While the ability of the camera to make a burst of images rapid has completely altered the way I consider my compositions and expose photos.
I’ll still study the scene and look at all the elements. Typically I’ll make a few test photos to check sharpness, exposure and how different focal lengths alter the scene.
But when the train arrives, instead of exposing one photograph, or in the case of my old slide camera a few ‘motor drive’ dupes, I’ll might make a burst of images all the while adjusting my framing to subtly alter the composition. More is better, right?
Then after the fact I can decide which image I like best. I can erase the rest.
Below are five similar views made within seconds of each other. These portray an Irish Rail perway train working the quad track in suburban Dublin. Operation of this particular train is sporadic, and making photographs of it require knowledge, planning and patience.
When it finally came into view, I wanted to be sure I made the best possible photo that shows the train in its environment. Which one do you like the most?
Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.
Please share Tracking the Light!