It is rare for me to associate an apparently successful photograph with disappointment and missed opportunity. But that is my recollection when I view this night shot of Amboise, France. I had visited the same location the night before and stumbled across a celebration involving candles and lanterns. The riverbank and bridge were festooned with lights and the effect was quite stunning. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera and it was too late to walk back to the hotel to get it.
The next night I returned with my camera hoping to catch the same scene. But of course the lanterns and candles were gone. I did get the above view of the castle and bridge. But not shooting the candle festival the night before is a missed opportunity that still rankles.
Have Your Camera Ready for Any Opportunity
The point here is to always have your camera available and be ready when you come across unexpected and delightful photo opportunities, especially when traveling. Also be sure to have the equipment needed to make the best of whatever opportunity presents. For further information check out this article about traveling light.
I travel light and never carry a tripod on vacation. The above photo is an example where a tripod would have been useful. It was shot on film at a shutter speed impossible to hand hold. I rested the camera on a stone wall and braced it with my fingers to keep it aimed and steady. It worked but was awkward and uncomfortable.
Stabilize for Long Exposures Even Without a Tripod
Another lesson learned. Have some means of camera stabilization when the photograph would benefit from long exposure. It is photos like the one above that inspired the creation of HandlePod years later. No more balancing the camera with fingers on a stone wall. Simply set the HandlePod on the wall, hold it in place with light hand pressure then aim and shoot.
Today with a digital camera and a HandlePod I’ll be ready when I come across a photo opportunity like the one in Amboise.