Take A Shot….. Or Not…..

Photography, take a shot or not?

If your like me, when I head out for some sunrise photography, I tend to take a lot of pictures. In that small window of time, before the sunrise until a few minutes after, I may take anywhere from 100 to 300 shots. I’ll grab different perspectives, angles and compositions. Even before heading out in the dark hour before sunrise, I’ll set up everything on my camera the night before. But with limited time in the early morning, sometimes you are faced with, do you take a shot or not?

Sometimes, when I get to a location I may even get distracted. Case in point this morning. I stopped by Coral Cove Beach in Tequesta, Florida. My initial plan was to set up along the rock formations and capture the ocean waves coming over the rocks with a dynamic sunrise. Just as I got set up, a fellow local photographer walked over and told me a Loggerhead Turtle was still on shore preparing to lay her eggs. Since this normally occurs in the darkness of night, I figured it would be a good photo opportunity. I gave up on the rocks and sat patiently and well away from the turtle so she wouldn’t be distracted. Once she finished, she turned and headed back to the ocean.

Loggerhead Late Start


It wasn’t the HDR or high dynamic range sunrise photography that I had planned for, but it turned out to be my best shot of the morning.

But it brings me to my point on whether to take the shot or not. For me, it’s ending up with something I totally didn’t expect when I started shooting. I’ve ended up at some locations for my sunrise photography only to find out I had left my ISO at 3200 from taking pictures of the stars the night before! Goes against my statement above, about preparing the night before. But in this case, I was tired and went to bed and headed out the door early in the morning in a rush.

At this particular location, I had walked about a 1/4 of a mile from where I parked to a spot overlooking some water. There was quite a bit of fog, but the sky looked pretty spectacular before the sun came up. Pinks, blues, yellows. It was all there. I took 96 pictures before the sun came up and the colors were gone. It was then I realized, my ISO was at 3200! I knew I wasn’t going to be happy with the noise in the photos, so I gave a sigh and packed up my tripod and headed back to my Jeep.

As I was almost back to my vehicle, I had that gut instinct to turn around. I was amazed by the lifting fog, exposing not the water scene I had hoped to capture, but the walkway leading through and the woods. So much warmth in the colors, I wasn’t sure if I could capture anything. I was faced with should I take the shot or not? Well, it’s a no brainer. We live in a digital age and my memory cards had plenty of room. It was simply a matter of setting up the tripod and picking my spot to take a shot.

I got home and quickly discarded my images I had taken during the very beginning of my journey. I was right, the noise was horrible and I didn’t want to spend too much time post processing something that I didn’t have my heart into. I got to my last set of images and processed them for HDR and was thrilled.

Sunrise in Jupiter, Florida on the first morning of Spring 2013.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this photo became one of my favorites I’ve taken. It was one of those last minute shots that may or may not have happened. So when your faced with whether to take a shot or not, take it. You might be pleasantly surprised!

One Response to “Take A Shot….. Or Not…..”

  1. Sudarshan says:

    Steve, you take amazing pictures. I used to live in Jupiter Farms and left for Cincinnati, OH. If only had I seen your pictures before…

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