When I’m out with my camera I often have a specific objective in mind… but sometimes Mother Nature surprises me with some unexpected photographic by-products. Such was the case with the images of ducks in flight featured in this article.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
I had visited LaSalle Park with a friend with the specific purpose of photographing trumpeter swans in flight. In the back of both of our minds we were also hoping that the bald eagles that had been recently sighted in the area would make an appearance. That didn’t happen, but some mallard ducks showed up and presented a few bird-in-flight opportunities.
The vast majority of my images that day were of trumpeter swans in flight as planned, but I just couldn’t resist capturing the occasional mallard when they flew in close enough for a decent image.
Over the years I’ve found that opportunities for photographic by-products regularly occur. Sometimes I’m open to the potential they represent… and sometimes I’m just too focused on the task at hand to pay them much attention.
When I’ve been overly focused it has often resulted in some missed opportunities that I regretted later… so I regularly remind myself of the value of photographic by-products. This helps me respond to unplanned opportunities as they present themselves.
This approach has also proven to be important from a business standpoint. About a decade ago I was working on a custom safety poster project for a reasonably new client. After finishing up the still images required for the posters I had a bit of time left in the day so on a whim I decided to shoot some sample video footage.
I spent about 15 to 20 minutes capturing a quick assortment of video clips… what would be considered ‘B roll’ material. Once I returned home I put them together in a short video assembly and recorded a voice over track. Then I rendered the assembly and copied it to a memory stick.
A couple of weeks later when I was delivering the printed safety posters I had a chance to meet with my client. I presented them with the short video assembly that I had produced.
During the discussion that ensured we chatted about the potential of integrating safety videos into the company’s overall program. We talked about how their safety posters could use QR codes that linked to corresponding safety videos and could help create real-time learning opportunities for employees when at-risk behaviours had been observed.
Since my client was a large company with hundreds of retail outlets my assumption was that they likely already had a relationship with some video production companies. My assumption ended up being accurate. My short video assembly and our discussion was intended as some value added service on my part. The video certainly wasn’t good enough to be considered ‘pitch material’.
Time passed and I was awarded some additional custom safety poster projects. I didn’t really think anything more about the short video assembly.
About a year later I received a call from my client wanting to schedule a meeting to discuss safety videos. That meeting resulted in my first safety video project with the company, and lead to a series of additional video projects, including some with other divisions of the organization.
Photographic by-products have lead to some of my favourite images of small birds taking flight, as well as butterflies and other insects. Being more aware of my surroundings has had a positive impact on my travel photography and macro work. Remaining open to explore the world around us allows us to see more. Take more in. Create more. Taking advantage of photographic by-products can take us to unexpected places and experiences.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. All images are displayed as full frame captures without any cropping. Photographs were resized for web use. This is the 1,128 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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