What if you only had one opportunity to capture the perfect photo?

When you take a photo with a digital camera or with your phone, do you ever take just one photo? Or do you take a couple of shots – just in case one doesn’t turn out?

As a perfectionist, I tend to take dozens of shots from a variety of angles and camera settings. I want to make sure I don’t miss the perfect photo. This is often referred to as the “spray and pray” technique. If you take a lot of photos, one has to be good, right?

So my logic is that if I take 10 photos each of 50 different flowers, there is a higher probability that one out of each set will be great – and maybe even all of them. Can you imagine 500 great shots?  The odds have to be with me, don’t they?

Well, Jeff, the mathematician, statistician, and logician thinks otherwise.

Thus, to get us (okay, “me”) more focused on my composition, Jeff set up the “One Shot” challenge. Only one photo per subject was allowed on our outing.

With a reluctant handshake we were off to Tower Hill Botanical Garden.

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Land Anemone

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A shallow focus gives almost an abstract feel, Monet like?

Balancing light and delicate detail.


Isolating against a dark background for more “pop”


If I stay real still, she won’t see me…

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Puckering up for a kiss?

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So your question might be, “Did I struggle with being limited to one shot?”  Surprisingly, “no”. Instead it was freeing – I either got the shot or I didn’t.  Either way I was done, and I could (OK, had to) move on to the next subject.

Yes, I spent more time on each shot – which is probably what Jeff had as his hidden agenda. After all, my machine gun “spray and pray” approach can be distracting to others.

And I did get a bit careless, once I took my shot, I didn’t always take the time to double check exposure or focus to make sure I was set for the next subject.

So what is your style? Are you a one shot kind of person? Could you be?

If you take the challenge, remember at the end of the day, “it’s all about the light”.


Secret notes from Jeff added after she wrote the blog:

Note that I am adding these notes without her review or approval. Please do not tell her as I am sure to be in a heap of trouble.

Overall, my challenge to Kathryn achieved the results I was looking for.  First and foremost, we finished our walk around the garden in less time than what we do normally.  I didn’t have to wait and wait and wait at every flower. Second, I didn’t have to review 100s of photos, sometimes ten or more of the same thing.  She only took 20 photos or so overall! Third, I made it a competition. By doing this she had to accept the challenge as she is one of the most competitive people I have met.  I say this as a good thing as I love the competition myself.

After reviewing all of her photos, I have to admit they were an improvement over her Tower Hill photos shot  on previous visits. Each photo had a defined subject, composed nicely, and exposed perfectly. In the end she could do it! Kathryn could take a lot less photos and get better results. Bonus result achieved! Check.