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Quick Photo Tip: Call Shotgun!!

I’m so glad I wasn’t driving.


For most of the people that are now reading my blog that have heard or have used this expression, you understand its importance in our society. For those that don’t, it was a common declaration growing up that meant if you said it out loud and before anyone else could say it, you got to sit in the front passenger seat next to the window;  it was written in stone and no one could dispute it; except maybe a much bigger friend.

Now that I’m no longer a kid, although I still consider myself extremely immature, I can sit there whenever I want. As I tell my students that take my online classes with the BPSOP, and those that have been with me on multiple workshops around the planet, I will often quote people that have played a significant part in the way I approach photography. This time it’s Eddie Adams who once said, “When you get lucky, be ready”.

What I mean is that by sitting shotgun with a camera in your lap you just never know what you’re going to see when stopped either at a red light or during rush hour. Btw, I won’t always do this because of the position of the sun, but I’ll jump at the chance when the sun is low on the horizon either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

In the above photo, it was late in the afternoon and we were downtown stuck in a rush hour traffic jam. I had decided beforehand that it was a good time to call shotgun (even though it was just my wife and I). No one around us seemed to be very happy except me, since I was pre-occupied with the light…as is usually the case.  As I  was looking around for the light, a car driven by a woman pulled up right next to me who appeared to be wearing a white hijab.

I noticed the light hitting all around both sides of her car and brought my camera (my little Lumix DMC-LX7) up to the ready position. I was watching her while she was sitting in the car’s interior shadows,  and it was obvious she didn’t want to be there anymore than anyone else that afternoon. In just the quickest of moments she stuck her head out the window and because I was ready when I got lucky, I got off one shot.

So my fellow photographers, the next time you know that you’ll be stuck in traffic, take a camera along with you and call shotgun. You just never know when and where that “OMG” photo will raise it’s head, and if you’re ready for it and can anticipate what might happen, you’ll thank me for it.


Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me some time. This coming January Along with William Yu, I’ll be taking a group to China to photograph the flooded rice terraces and also the tribal villages. Next February in conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be returning to Cuba for the fourth time. My next springtime workshop will Berlin next May; an incredibly beautiful city.

If you send me a photo and question to AskJoeB@gmail.com. I’ll create a video critique for you.


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