Previously I have shared about being at the right place at the right time alone does not bring you any good picture. One needs to be able to “see” it, otherwise you will end up with nothing too.
Of course at times some luck is required for a moment to occur, for the light to fall on the right place and for the right subject to enter the frame. But more often it demands a split second reaction from the photographer to hold up his camera, dial in the settings, frame, focus and shoot. And all these boil down to the skill of one individual rather than pure luck.
If you are not familiar with your camera and lens, you may end up in the wrong mode or dialling the wrong setting. You may not be able to react fast enough to change to your desired setting. You may end of with wrong focus on your picture. There’s no easy way to overcome this, one just has to shoot more often with your camera and get familiar with the location of dials, build up your muscle memory, and understand your lens and how they behave during focusing.
During walkabout, be aware of the surroundings and dial in the settings for exposure accordingly. This can be done easier for cameras with dedicated external dials such as the Fujifilm X-T1/2, Leica M and etc., but it’s not that hard for other cameras to do the same. Stay alert and get your camera prepared at all time so that when a moment occurs, you are half way through in getting the picture.
If you are using auto focus, be sure to stay aware on where your focus point is lying on your camera. If I’m not shooting wide open, I’ll tend to leave my focus point on the centre of the frame, and the focus and recompose my shot. Unless I have enough time to visualize what the final frame will look like, otherwise I try not to move the focus point as it may slows me down and missing the shot. If you are confident with your camera’s multi area focus points, you can make use of that to get a better hit rate.
For manual focusing, there are various ways you can do to get the shot you want the moment it occurs. The usual method will be focusing with hyperfocal distance, or to pre-focus your lens to a certain distance and move in to your subject to take the shot when it gets within your focus plane. All said, it requires a lot of practice for one to master any of these techniques.
So, get yourself “ever ready”, learn to “see” the frame, and keep shooting. Till then.