Picture of the Week 48 – Raining Cats and Dogs

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Canon EOS 5D ,Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
1/320s f/5.6 at 24.0mm iso3200

This coming weekend (Dec 7-9), the Village Church Community Theater is performing “A Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Nativity”. It’s a great Christmas play with wonderful bluegrass music.

In this scene, Noah just gathered the animals and his stubborn wife into the ark when, according to the script, it starts raining cats and dogs. The stage crew had fun with that line, of course, and made it rain stuffed toy animals from above the stage. A fun moment to catch, if you are prepared.

Being prepared for a shoot, or even a single picture, is the point I’d like to make with this picture of the week. When I photograph plays, I wouldn’t dare show up at a dress rehearsal without being really familiar with the play. If I had done that here, I would have never been fast enough to catch the toy animals in mid-air. I often read the script before I come to even the first rehearsal, and I always attend a number of them. I make mental notes on particular moments to capture, as well as where to position myself for certain shots. Without this preparation, I’d miss out on a lot.

No matter what type of photography you are interested in, knowing as much as possible about the subject or object before you even pick up a camera will help you get better photos. For landscapes, you’ll want to know how they change with the seasons and how the light changes throughout the day. For portraits, knowing your subjects will help you capture them in meaningful and characteristic ways. When shooting sports, you obviously need to understand how the game works, where the action happens, etc. I could go on, but you get the idea. Do your research before you aim your camera and press the shutter.

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