Do You Take U-Turn Photos?

One of my photographer friends Stan Kaady, commented while showing someone some photos of his on his phone that was a “U-Turn Photo.” That is where you see something, make a U-Turn and go back to take a photo.

The grand Mosque of Bobo-Dioulasso was built in 1880 in the Sudanese mud style. Bobo-Dioulasso is a city of about 600,000, the second biggest city in Burkina Faso after Ouagadougou, the nation’s capital. West Africa.

While stopping and doing U-Turns myself, I had never just referred to those photos as U-Turn Photos. I loved hearing the term used this way.

Stan Kaady might only refer to making a U-Turn in your car to get a photo; I often stop and go back to get a second look.

Little Girl in Nicaragua

My mentor Don Rutledge would often look at other photographers’ contact sheets and coach these photographers. One thing he was always doing was asking why did you only take one photo of something and then move on?

Don would then give a lesson on the art of seeing. He believed that our subconscious sees something that catches our attention. He believes that we should take the time and explore when this happens.

While driving from Bobo to Banfora, David and Tami Wood had a belt break on the engine. David was able to repair the side of the road.

It is no different from making a U-Turn. You know something caught your eye. Now is the time to explore the scene. Sometimes you may walk around and look for different angles or change lenses. Sometimes you find everything almost perfect, but you must compose and wait. This is what many photographers do to help out with a photo. They are waiting for something like a person, a car, or even just an animal to come into the frame, and when they are in the right place in the composition, they click the shutter.

Togo, West Africa

Some of the best photos are those U-Turn photos. You follow your gut and emotional reaction and then explore with the camera to find what turned your eyes. When you do, sometimes, you get lucky, and a eureka moment happens. But, sometimes, after exploring, it just never develops.

Night street scene in Bucharest, Romania

What is essential that Don taught me was not just to have one shot on the camera but to explore until you have exhausted the scene. How about you? Do you take U-Turn Photos?