F8 and be there — with a little bit a luck.

A sheep stands on the bridge at War Eagle in Northwest Arkansas. (Beth Hall)

Have you ever heard the phrase “f8 and be there?”

It’s attributed to being said by Weegee (Arthur Fellig) in the late 40’s, and it’s a phrase that comes through my head every time I am in one of those “is this really happening” moments.

A couple of Saturday’s ago, I was driving to Eureka Springs to shoot a really cool project for a client (I’ll post more about that one soon), and I decided to take the scenic route. We recently had a big flood at War Eagle Mill, so I thought I would take that route to see if there was any damage to the War Eagle Bridge. As I pulled up to the bridge, I had one of those moments… I’ve actually had a lot of those moments in my career, and I’m very thankful for all for all of them. There are so many things that make a great image, but one of the biggest ones is luck. That’s where the phrase f8 and be there comes into play. If you don’t go out, and you don’t have a camera… you can’t create a dynamic image.

One of my tricks is to keep a camera on my passenger seat, and keep it on either shutter or aperture priority. I personally am a manual shooter, but keeping a camera on an auto setting helps for those times when you come across something and you want to jump out and shoot. It makes it easy to grab a couple of quick shots, and then change over to a manual mode to perfect your exposure. It was something I used to do when I worked at the paper, and it’s something I still try to do when I’m driving back roads to my destination.

So back to the story about that Saturday… War Eagle Bridge is a one-lane steel bridge built in 1907 that features stone piers and wooden planks. Majority of the time when I drive over it, I share the space with pedestrians who are on the bridge looking at the creek below, or snapping photos of the mill. I have to say that this was the first time in my 20 years of living in NWA that I’ve had to share the bridge with a sheep… yes, I said a sheep. I have no idea where he came from, but he was hanging out on the bridge with a couple who he followed onto the bridge. I naturally grabbed my camera and decided to snap a few photos.

I’m not really sure where he came from since there were no other sheep nearby, but I really enjoyed the time I spent with him. And I’m so thankful for the couple on the bridge that patiently walked in and out of my frame to lead the sheep into a good spot on the bridge.

A sheep stands on the bridge at War Eagle in Northwest Arkansas. (Beth Hall)

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