Decisive Moment


Action isn't what I usually pursue with my camera, but when I'm in the presence of a toddler, there is no time for setting up the shot. I am capable of quick response, though, especially when the light and circumstance are just right. On this particular day, I was following my excited grandson as he ran along a terrace in downtown LA. Both my grandmotherly eye and my camera eye were steadily trained on him. I was able to take several shots of his encounter with the pigeon before my hands were needed to provide protection. And one of these photos perfectly expressed "the decisive moment," in the phrase used by the great French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson to describe capturing the instant that tells the story visually. Being present in the moment is what I most enjoy about photography. When I look through the lens, I lose track of time. In fact I lose track of myself as a separate, self-important being. I am channeling an energy that is bigger than me. All I have to do is pay attention and remember to press the shutter. It's easier when I'm not chasing my grandson!