Written by Tamara Kwan of TammyLynn Photography
If you google ‘The Decisive Moment’ you’ll more than likely see Henri Cartier-Bresson’s name at the top of the list along with his photograph titled ‘Behind the Gare St. Lazare’ of a man jumping accross some water and just about to make a splash. My image above reminds me of his image.
What is ‘The Decisive Moment’? Besides being a book by Henri Cartier-Bresson? Well it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s the moment in which you decide to press the shutter and capture a moment in time. The moment can sometimes make or break a photo, especially when a moment or two before or after a particular moment in time just won’t have the same impact. It’s managing to capture a story or some tension or an expression or an expectation. Like my image above, a moment later and it would have been just another splash photo. A moment before and it wouldn’t have the full impact of what is about to happen.
To me the decisive moment can also be a moment captured in time that you might not have seen other wise.
This photograph was captured hand held with a Canon 5D and 24-70mm 2.8 lens. It was a cloudy rainy day, with ISO set to 100 I still managed to shoot at 1/400th of a second at f/2.8. I was shooting in Aperture Priority letting the camera choose the shutter speed. As most of my subjects were moving and I was mostly shooting hand held I kept a watch on the shutter speed trying to keep it above 1/200th of a second. The 2.8 aperture of my lens helped greatly with this. As I was shooting in RAW I didn’t worry much about the white balance, though in hindsight I should have set it to daylight and saved myself a couple of clicks in post processing. But why not cloudy? It was cloudy and there is a cloudy white balance setting. Well I find that the cloudy setting more often than not leaves my images too yellowish.
The Photo above is of my friend’s daughter playing at Slimbridge WWT. No children or ducks were harmed in the making of this image.