Listen to the Moment

April 11, 2018

Art has been a medium for people to express their thoughts, emotions, feelings, philosophy, and vision. And because of its very emotive, deep and personal nature, it requires truthfulness, honesty and complete alignment of an artist’s heart with his mind. Like relationships that need meaning to grow deeper and flourish, arts require the same., and photography is no different. Moments make up our memories. But they have a mind of their own. They come and go as they like. We are merely blessed with moments that become a joyful part of our lives. For a photographer, moments are a lifeline. We get lucky when something beautiful happens in front of us and we happen to have a camera with us too. And in that short moment, unless our intuition is perfectly aligned with our skill, we can’t capture the moment. Many a time, we ignore our inner voice in the heat of the perfect moment. Instead of just taking the shot, we get involved in turning knobs and dials, pushing buttons etc. to get a pixel-perfect version of the fleeting moment. In pursuit of artificial perfection, we refrain from using higher ISO settings or a narrower aperture like f11. It’s all because of fear of getting noise and diffraction.

Reality is full of flaws

Photographs can pack a lot of emotions. Emotions never need perfection. The people we love have flaws and imperfections. And yet, our emotions towards them are strong, deep, powerful, and irreplaceable. When we love someone, we love their flaws too because those flaws are part of their being. Without their imperfections, they won’t have the same personality that we fell in love with. I’d like to see moments in the same way. Not all of them need to be pixel perfect. Perhaps it’s not even up to us how we capture the moment. Perhaps, it’s the moments that decide how they want to be captured… some with a higher ISO and noise, some with color fringing, some with a bit of shake and blur, some with diffraction, and some with another set of imperfections. Our job as a photographer is to make sure we click the shutter button and let go of our fears.

The photograph below is a very tight crop of the original shot which was captured at 70mm using a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. I did not have a telephoto lens but that didn’t stop me from capturing the moment. To make the scene reflect what I felt at the time, I had to crop it severely. As a result, the grain became much more pronounced, and the smaller details began to look softer. Now when I look at this photo, I believe that the enlarged grain and softness as a result of cropping have added a lot more to the photograph. The scene looks organic, natural, and just feels a lot more emotive. Perhaps this is what the moment had in mind for me. It was destined to be captured and presented this way.

A lesson for photographers

I guess you just take what nature gives you expressly. 



Hi, I am Hammad Iqbal, a professional photographer based in Doha. Welcome to the "HI Blog" where I share tutorials, tips and techniques about shooting and post-processing images using Lightroom and Photoshop. Follow my updates by subscribing to my newsletter and discover with me the art of photography and post-processing!

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