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The Bucket Shot: You Can Do It Too

By on Dec 28, 2018 in Getting the Shot, Photography, Theory Thursday | 0 comments

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I don’t want to make this another DIY Photography-style, post where I pop a youtube video in a post and then add a couple of sentences about what I think. Instead, I am going to use the video as a point of reference for a larger topic.

Peter McKinnon dropped his latest video yesterday and it is everything you’d expect from the guy who forever changed photography-youtube videos. To be honest, I feel that the man deserves his own show on Netflix.

However, the point I want to explore is something that he talks about in the video. I would say that every photographer has that one shot that they are dreaming about getting. That one shot that pushes them to get up so early. That drives them to invest time and money into a craft that in some cases rarely pays off.

With 2019 only days away, I want everyone to sit back, watch the video, and think about what your bucket shot is. Before you get jaded and think “oh yeah I could get that shot if I was paid by Canon and stayed for free at a posh hotel…” just take a moment to think about that one shot.

If you take a step back from this video and look at what Peter really did, you see that you can do the same. He didn’t fly to some exotic location and get special access thanks to his youtube stardom. All he did was make time to get the shot that he wanted, when the time was right.

Again, what Peter McKinnon did was nothing extraordinary. He simply took the time to get the photo that he has always wanted to get. That is it. This is what every photographer can and should do.

This was a shot that I took in the fall. I had driven this road for many years and always wanted to figure out a way to get this shot. It wasn’t until I got a drone that I was able to get above the trees. Not to mention, that I only had a small window of good weather to shoot. This became one of my favorite images of 2018.

Moving Forward to 2019

This is a lesson that we all can learn from. For me, I have always wanted to photograph the Dubai cityscapes. To me, there is nothing cooler than seeing this city from the air or the edge of a tall building.

This is the ultimate bucket shot for me and is the one that my friend Peter DeMarco has shot a number of times. This is a place that I will photograph at some point, I am making sure of it. One of Peter DeMarco’s most recent shots is just so far out of this world and it drives me to save a little more money each month and be a little nicer to my wife so that she let’s me go lol!

What I would suggest is to create a list of the photographs that you have in the back of your head. The ones that you know you want to get and keep working at ticking off those shots.

The other thing is to prepare for those shots as well. Meaning, practice getting the shots in your immediate area. Learn about the techniques used to create the images that you want. Reach out to the photographers whose photos emulate the one that you want to create. See what they did. What advice can they give?

It may take me years to get to Dubai. When I do, I don’t want to screw it up. That means that I have time to work on the skills that I need. I have time to improve, to reach out to photographers who shoot in Dubai to find the best places and times to shoot. Build those relationships.


The bottomline is that you need to make time for your photography. You need to prepare for the bucket shots that you have in your mind. They will be more rewarding when you grow as a photographer to achieve them.

Sure, it may be easier for some but that is just life and you have to work with what you got. So in 2019, try to get one step closer to your own bucket shot. Think of the ways that you can improve, the places you can go and the people that you can talk to to get your bucket shot.

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