How Rick Sammon Got The Shot- My One Picture Promise

How I Got the Shot – My One Picture Promise

Rick Sammon

I promise you . . . If you think about the one picture you’d take in a particular situation – think about the one best exposure, the one best composition, the one best lens to use, the one best combination of camera settings – I promise you, you will get a higher percentage of “keepers.”

My promise works for my photo workshop students and I am sure it will work for you – because it forces you to be a little more thoughtful and careful before you press the shutter release button.

This king penguins images is my favorite photograph from South Georgia Island, which is relatively close to Antarctica.

Here is why I like the photograph, which I took while I was lying on my belly in penguin poop, and the reasons why I feel as though it was the best photograph to take in this situation:

  • The image tells an environmental story, as opposed to a close-up shot that tells more of a story about the animals.
  • The entire image is properly exposed – achieved by shooting a RAW file and then by slightly adjusting the highlights and shadows in Adobe Camera RAW.
  • The penguins’ heads are framed in the sky and are separated from the background. In composition, separation is extremely important.
  • The three penguins are placed off-center for creative composition.
  • The three penguins also illustrate one of the rules of composition: the rule of odds.
  • The scene shows the land and clouds in the sky all in focus. That depth-of-field was achieved by using a wide angle setting (24mm on my Canon 24-105mm IS lens), setting a small aperture (f/14) and focusing one-third into the scene. Those settings offer maximum depth-of-field.


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