Moments come without notice. It is imperative for us to hone the ability to observe and to appreciate those moments. No, I won’t say anything like “that’s what a photography enthusiast should do.” Sometimes I just don’t care about those stuffs, they have become irrelevant when you compare to such reasoning as: we only live once, and we might die any moment. In the end, nothing matters much, however the appreciation of life and of being are some of the things that could satiate the thirst of one’s soul. The pool of wisdom is drying out where I’m at, because nobody seems to care about the ability to see beyond what one’s eyes can see.
Nevertheless, it is also imperative to be prepared. When the moment pass in front of our eyes we don’t want to be busy puling out our camera from the bag with intricate sealing, locks and zipper. We certainly don’t have the time to take off those lens cap, replace the lens hood and see where the inner metering of our camera stands so that we can adjust it to the scene in front of us. I’m not the kind of person that will come to people and tell them to re-enact the “life” that they have “lived”, for me that’s just plain sick.
Just in case anyone care, this is my train of thoughts.
When I think that there’s the possibility for me to take pictures on a particular day, I’ll think simple and lightweight. I only use a camera bag if I am trying to make money doing photography, or out with a group of friends doing some serious stuffs, otherwise no. It’s too awkward and inviting for me to run around brandishing equipments and the hey-I’ve-got-a-dslr kind of bag. I almost always go around alone, so I don’t like to send unnecessary invitations to thieves and robbers alike, may they be busy with someone else.
Bring the smallest, cheapest body that you posses, so should something happen, you’ll cry, but will brush it off soon enough. Couple it with the smallest general zoom lens, or, if planning to be out until after sunset, a normal prime, 35mm or 50mm comes to mind (in the realm of expensive hobby, they are considered cheap). I’ll skip external flash, I’ll use whatever light available, it’s not like someone would pay me to do portrait.
I’ll put the set in to a small, ugly, but strong messenger bag, stuffed with waste papers and whatnot to absorb impact. I’ll also throw in one or two plastic bag, just in case the rain should come, they’ll also allow me to shoot under the rain… I’ve treated my gear in worse situations than mere rain, so I know, they will hold. If available, make ready the lens hood in to its proper functional position, so you can put the set in to the bag without using the lens cap. It will be faster that way. But if you don’t have the lens hood, stay with the cap.
I’ll pre-set the metering, anticipating what the rest of the day would look like. I usually dial in 1/200 – 1/500 @ f/4 to f/7.1 @ ISO 100 – 400 according to the situations. They are somewhere in the middle, so it’s not too far up or down. Better yet if your body comes with user preset modes that you can set any way you like. I’ve set the rules for one of my modes for “mindless snap.” I like it better than shutter or aperture priority modes.
And, make sure the battery and the card are inside the camera ready for actions, not miles away on your desk, inside your home.