Tunnel Vision

Last weekend was the closing concert for Sound Encounters, a ten-day music camp our son Nathan was attending in Ottawa, KS (not quite as exotic as Ottawa, Canada). And I fell into the classic trap of tunnel vision.

Between the orchestra performances, some of the kids who had volunteered for a bell choir played a few pieces. I really liked the bells against the girls’ black dresses, and was focused in (no pun intended) on that, trying to get a couple of shots that weren’t blurred. Why are all churches so poorly lit?

While I was doing that, my wife leaned over and said,” shoot the feet.” Huh? I took the camera down to ask what she meant, and saw the little girl in front of us had her feet up. I zoomed out wide, moved the focus to her feet, and got a few frames before she took them down.

Not surprisingly, that ended up being the nicest picture of the evening (except, of course, for the shots of Nathan playing his cello!). And it was a good example of tunnel vision. When teaching workshops I warn people to avoid getting so focused in on one thing that they forget to notice what else is happening around them. That’s one of the nice things about going out to shoot with other people. Their eyes will see things you won’t, and you can share what you find.

Of course, that’s not the way my wife, Sharon, sees it. For her it’s simply, “I was right, wasn’t I?” And yes, once again, she was.

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