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My Favorite Quotes: Louis Pasteur

I'm always ready for anything that comes my way.

I’m always ready for anything that comes my way.

In my famous quotes category, they don’t necessarily come from well-known photographers, writers, or musicians. They are quotes I’ve heard over time that have stuck with me for one reason or another. Yes, in order for me to identify with them they need to have some bearing on what I happen to have been doing for the past forty-eight years…and that would be taking pictures.

Louis Pasteur once said, “Chance favors the prepared mind”.

Photographically speaking, that refers to being mentally ready to take on whatever is coming your way…either from behind you or straight at you. In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I’m constantly pointing out that light, among other things comes and goes so fast that it’s easy to miss out. Sure, it takes talent, but it takes fast reflexes, being alert to the forever changing light, and a very good knowledge of your camera. I sometimes just scratch my head when a fellow photographer signs up for one of my workshops and shows up with a brand new camera and assortment of lens he or she has…and bought and so very proud of.; without ever reading the manual or shooting with it before the workshop.

I specifically remember being at a location in Paris at sunrise. Not just a typical beautiful sunrise, but one that was anything but typical. It had a perfect mix of a glorious sky and beautiful warm light. So beautiful, that one could just stand there and admire it…which incidentally was exactly what this photographer wound up doing. She had purchased a new camera system and four lens, and had no idea how to use it; since I didn’t shoot with the system, I could not help…a sad lesson learned.

I digress.

When you put your camera over your shoulder, you are basically going out hunting that wily-rouge OMG photo, that keeper that you can put on your wall and be proud to say you shot it…when asked.  You need to be ready and alert mentally for anything, because that’s what’s liable to come you way…anything and everything. That also includes always looking over your shoulder.

A well known pool hall expression is…”When you snooze, you lose”. One example is if you had just been shooting on the Aperture mode and suddenly something happened that would require a fast shutter speed, you would probably miss it if you hadn’t thought about it (very quickly) and changed your setting. This is one of many reasons I always shoot on manual…but that’s another story.

In the photo above, I was returning back to the San Juan airport after shooting the coastline from a helicopter. I looked to my far left and saw this incredible sky, and for a moment it had mesmerized me. To my right I saw a jet taking off and quickly got myself into position to shoot the jet as it headed towards the clouds and before the jet was gone…which took about ten seconds. As a result, I was able to capture this amazing (un-retouced) image that has always been one of my favorites.

Btw, imagine what it must have looked like to the pilot and co-pilot.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have one opening left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage.Keep those photos and questions coming into:AskJoeB@gmail.com.


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    { 10 comments… add one }
    • Valeriano March 14, 2015, 10:46 am

      So you shot this amazing picture while still flying on the helicopter?

      • Joe March 15, 2015, 12:39 pm


        Yes, I was still in the chopper…with the doors off so I could shoot. I was positioned with my feet on the struts and wearing a harness. You can imagine the rush I had!!!


    • Valeriano March 16, 2015, 4:20 am

      I understand. The only thing I can’t understand is the whole digression you added about camera settings in this post. If you were doing aerial photography, well, I guess you’d be already set up your camera in shutter priority mode or in manual mode with a very fast shutter speed.
      Plus it looks like this was taken with a long focal length and obviously hand held (unless you were on special helicopter with some sort of tripod mount).

      The photo is really beautiful and you were lucky to get these two things together: the amazing sun rays coming from behind a perfect cloud and the plane taking off.
      All of it on a very nice looking portion of the landscape: you also were able to perfectly compose the lines in it, thus creating depth and perspective effect.
      Definitively a “look over your shoulder” snapshot.

    • Valeriano March 17, 2015, 5:43 am

      Wow, this was shot with a 85mm only?! The helicopter had to be really close to that airstrip. I thought it was shot with a 400mm or a longer telephoto instead.

      • Joe March 17, 2015, 8:47 am


        I could have never had a lens that long up there with me.We were pretty close. Don’t forget that it was a very long time ago when security wasn’t near as important as it is now. That said, the pilot had clearance from the San Juan airport.


        • Valeriano March 18, 2015, 7:06 am

          Well you also got lucky that the airplane taking off in that moment didn’t show any visible logo, making this picture not only a keeper but sellable without any problem and ready for commercial use.
          It looks like one of those plane that are on flight tests by the manufacturer, rather than a commercial flight.

          • Joe March 18, 2015, 8:37 am


            You may be right about the logo. it’s been way tooooooooooooooooooooo many years for me to remember.


            • Valeriano March 19, 2015, 7:16 pm

              Yes, it happens to forget such a memorable day: all the universe —photographically speaking— was conspiring in spite of your success in this occasion.
              You looked over your shoulder while on a landing helicopter and got this incredible landscape and light in font of you, while a plane without any logo was just taking off at the perfect moment getting in the shot.
              I wouldn’t be surprised if you also found Bo Derek naked in your bed once back at the hotel, holding two glasses of champagne.

            • Joe March 20, 2015, 9:26 am

              Wouldn’t happen. I got the bill for the champagne, and two empty glasses laying on my messed up bed.

              That’s ok, as I would rather have the shot!!!


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