Getting Your Camera In A Different Place

Panama Canal One of the best things that Joe McNally ever did for photographers like you and I was to tell us to get our cameras in a different place.  If you have had the opportunity to read his recent book “The Moment It Clicks”, you already know what I am talking about.

When I am out shooting I always try to find a way to get my camera someplace that no one (or almost no one) has gotten their camera to.  You will find that if you are going to be shooting something famous, you can bet it has already been shot to death.  Sometimes there isn’t always an opportunity to do this because you don’t happen to own a plane, helicopter, boat, etc.  Regardless, it’s always worth looking to see if you can find a unique place to make a picture from.

On my recent trip through the Panama Canal, I saw such an opportunity and I jumped all over it.  As I was standing on the bridge wing of my ship I noticed the Night Vision Devices had been placed for our transit.  Everyone was taking shots of the McDonald’s restaurant in Panama with their point-and-shoots.  I had my Nikon 50mm f1.8 normal lens on my D40 and I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be cool to get a shot through the NVD?”  I had my camera completely set up so I set up the NVD and took a couple of frames.

The image above turned out to be pretty cool for a couple of reasons.  The most obvious being that I shot it through the NVD.  Since it was very dark out, I had my ISO cranked up to 800 which added some noise to the image.  (The D40 doesn’t do too well above ISO 400 when it comes to noise.)  I shot it at f5.6 at 1/125.  It was a fun and creative way to capture an interesting landmark.

When Joe shot the Empire State Building from the very top, it gave everyone a whole new perspective.  That is what we should all be after when it comes to our photography.  Not simply trying to just capture a moment, but rather make it unique too.  So the next time you’re out shooting, see if you can find a way to get your camera in a different place.


4 thoughts on “Getting Your Camera In A Different Place

  1. Hi Stephen,
    I happened to stumble across your blog a few days back and I have been hooked! I own a D40 as well and love what you are able to do with it.
    Just thought I’d drop you a message to show my appreciation 🙂 Enjoy your break!

  2. Thank you for your kind words! The D40 is a really great camera and it’s a lot of fun to shoot with. Overall, a photographer starting out with a camera like the D40 will learn more about photography because the D40 lacks some of the “bells and whistles” of the higher-end bodies. A camera is only a box that traps light. The most important part of the camera is the 12 inches behind it (Ansel Adams). My goal is to inspire and share what (little) I know with others. Thanks for reading and as always, please feel free to contact me with questions.

    Take care,


  3. Pingback: Today is Nikon D40 Inspiration Day! « Stephen Zeller | Photography

  4. Pingback: perspective « Interstitial

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