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I watch a lot of videos on Youtube, instead of going out and taking more pictures but for some reason, after watching 30 minutes of this video, I got dressed, took my camera and went out to shoot on a freezing cold day. I was THAT inspired.
If you don’t know who Sam Abell is, that’s ok, I didn’t either until I saw this video. He was a photographer for National Geographic for over 30 years and 2 of the photos he took were featured in the Nat Geo Best 50 photos ever taken.

The video is 1h and 49 minutes, a bit long I know, to be honest I didn’t watch it all at once myself but if you are the kind of photographer who likes to take his time composing your shots, this is a must see video.

For all you gearheads out there who’s first questions would be, what gear does this guy use, I can tell you he uses a Canon full frame, did not specify which one but rather that he is committed to full frame, and 2 lenses, a 28mm and a 90mm, again did not specify which models.
This guy is like a photography zen master so please find below some of the most inspiring quotes from his presentation.
Sam Abell quotes that will improve your photography:
  • “When will you take your most compelling photograph, what age will you be?”
  • “Sammy take a low angle.”
  • “Compose the picture Sammy and wait.”
  • “Link a still life to a landscape.”
  • “I regret that but I know that my photography is not about perfection, it’s about goodness.”
  • “One of the things my mother thought me was how to lie constructively, you think no and you say yes.”
  • “You don’t know about life, you don’t know what gift life is going to give you, that’s another reason to compose the picture and wait because that’s what’s you’re waiting for, a miracle in photographic terms…”
  • “Improvement is not photography, seeing is photography”
  • “All of my photographs are untouched and unretouched as well”
  • “What you act on, really? You act on intuition you act on a thing, on an instinct that the visual elements in front of you will work for you and then you go to work. And you stay with it for as long as it’s promising. What I’m talking about is… fieldwork, which is 1000% different than anything that goes on with your computer. That’s POST-production, photography is about seeing and being in life.
  • “I don’t use motor drive so I depended on timing.”
  • “You can’t chase the subject and get a deeply composed, deeply realized many leyered picture. You gotta compose and wait, it may not work.”
  • “People think, good things just happen to this guy (Sam Abell), but behind this (the picture with the dolphin and the dog) was a mugging, a rubbery, a week of rain, my own despondency about Ireland and about my life and photography.”

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