I have been thinking about Cuba lately. I visited there last April and absolutely loved the spirit, the vibes, and the people of that wonderful country. Its time to go back but alas, this year we sold our condo, and bought a house in Florida and things are a bit busy here so it may have to wait a while. As I mentioned, I was there last April and must have shot about about 4000 frames in one week. What surprised me though was how many of those frames were good. Over the years I have discovered (as all photographers eventually do) that one must keep shooting to get good shots. With film, one was limited by roll size and the hassle of developing so many rolls of film. What I noticed was that I may go on a trip somewhere (Italy for instance), shot about 30 rolls of film, develop it, make contacts and at some point discover that I was lucky to have about 10 shots that were actually good. There may have been others but I am very hard on myself. These days with digital, I shoot more because I do not have to worry about film cost, developing, and making all those contacts. Lightroom speeds everything up. So my amount of keepers or good shots (AKA batting average) increases. Over the past few years, I have noticed that my film batting average (10 out of 1000 frames or 1%) has increased to about 2 or 3%. That’s actually quite good! That is until I visited Cuba and after returning, I noticed that this magic number was closer to 10%—that is, I had about 400 shots that were quite good. The down side was that I needed to edit much harder and it took longer.
I don’t really know why I was so successful on this trip. There could have been many reasons such as, the place itself, my headspace at the time, or that magic unknown that nobody can really explain—it just happened. What has changed over the past few years is that now, when I go on trips like this, I do research. I read about the place, check maps, and get a feel for it so that when I get there, I have an idea in my head of where I want to go and what I want to see. I waste less time and therefore am usually more successful, than when I just wander aimlessly around.
This year, I have a list of special events that I am going to and am now in preparation for studying these places and figuring out what I want to accomplish. For instance, this spring I have to be in San Diego for a few days and thought it might be a good idea to visit Tijuana. I know it is a short distance—even maybe walking distance so I started reading about it on a preliminary basis. Now I know there are day tours leaving from certain hotels, they are inexpensive, and will get me to the center of town quickly and effortlessly. Now I just have to find the right one that fits my schedule and will let me wander around for 4 or 5 hours undisturbed. Now I am working on what areas to see. As I said Its all about research. And research ups my batting average.