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Sometimes It’s Important To Just Slow Down and Shoot For Fun

By Anthony Thurston on September 29th 2014

In today’s world of 6-15FPS continuous burst modes, it is easy to just “spray-n-pray” hoping you capture the right moment. This works, but what makes a true master photographer, in my opinion, is one who can capture “THAT” moment with just a frame or two.

I have become accustomed to manual focusing for all of my shots, out of necessity using primarily vintage manual focus lenses on my EOS-M. It has taught me the value of slowing down, taking the time to compose each frame, and try different things.

A perfect example of this was a recent trip I took out to a wildlife refuge near my home. This time of year the area is crawling (literally, when you walk the ground moves), with frogs ranging from as small as a fingernail to as big as my wallet.


For this trip, I took one of my EOS-M bodies paired with my manual focus Olympus 50mm F/3.5 macro , which when paired with the APS-C sensor on my M gives me roughly a 80mm equivalent field of view. Not a combination that many would choose to shoot wildlife, but as challenging as it was, it was even more rewarding.

Try getting within a couple inches of a tiny frog that normally jumps at the first sign of danger. Then, try to do so with an interesting angle and composition. It takes slow, calculated movements. These are the sort of thoughts that really help you grow as a photographer in regards to really thinking about your composition and how light is hitting your subject.

As simple as these shots may seem, the act of shooting them has been some of the most helpful to me in improving my own photography. I highly recommend doing something similar yourself. Take some time, flip the switch and go out shooting with manual focus only.

Take your time thinking about composition and how the light is working in your shot. It can be a fun change of pace from the fast paced world of auto-focus and 10 frames per second, with little to no thought of anything except hoping you got the shot.

It’s also fun playing with your depth of field, trying different apertures and distances from your subject to get the desired look. This can be done with little green frogs or flowers, or whatever subject you want.


It’s just important to remember to get out and shoot for fun, experiment with different things and always be practicing. In the end, your portraits or other professional work will be better off for it.


What do you do when you want to shoot for fun? How has shooting for fun/experimenting helped you improve your photography? Leave a comment below!

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Kurk Rouse

    Hope you guys don’t mind me sharing a link from my instagram, I often go on beach walks to think, recharge and shoot for my self I captured this during one of those walks.

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  2. Enzo Scorziello

    I couldn’t agree more. My camera shoots 11fps but I am almost always in low shooting a manual focus lens. I think it comes from being taught how to shoot on film. I find it very relaxing but no one ever wants to go shoot with the slow poke!!

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  3. Brandon Dewey

    I agree, I shoot wedding and seniors for work, but when I have free time I shoot Landscapes and Nature for myself. Shooting something this is not work related reenergizes me.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Exactly! No expectations, no clients, just some playing around and making images. A great way to recharge and learn at the same time.

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    • Steven Pellegrino

      That’s what I love about shooting street photography – no client expectations. Some street photographers will say that shooting street photography is the hardest genre because you have little to no control of the situation. I don’t agree with that at all because at the end of the day if I don’t have any usable shots I haven’t lost anything. There’s always tomorrow. That doesn’t work for a wedding, does it?

      For me, what slows me down is shooting downtown St. Louis on either Saturday or Sunday mornings, just before the sun rises. The streets are deserted. It’s very quiet and I can explore the city in a way I can’t during the week.

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