Sometimes it pays to ask permission to take a picture like with the two twitchers above at Cliffe Pools Nature Reserve in Kent, UK. They thought I was strange to want to take their picture but they just looked so good there and with their approval I could spend some time (not too much as I wished not to disturb them unnecessarily) getting a position that would have gotten quizzical even worried looks if i’d just sat down at their feet without asking first, thus spoiling the image.
Sometimes of course it is better not to ask, to sneak a shot and not disturb the moment. The second shot is from a piece my friend Bruce Meyer Kenny and I tried on Keiren Bike racing in Saitama. A piece of advice I heard once is that it is “easier to apologize than to ask permission”. Of course in some countries doing this is likely to get you beaten-up or arrested.
At the very least, if you are in a place you shouldn’t be, trying to get an image that people don’t want you to see you will be asked to leave, as we were at the Keiren track. But as Sean Gallagher shows here, if you know your gear and keep shooting you can still get winning shots under difficult circumstances.
I’ve never done anything like Sean does but his advice is good whatever situation you find yourself in.