Storm Clouds and God Rays Sunbeams at Beach Northport NY Nature and Travel PhotographyAs a professional photographer, writer and educator I am often asked the same question regardless whether I’m teaching, writing or simply pursuing my passion for creating dynamic images. That question is "What is the best camera for a given image"? My stock answer to this all-too-broad inquiry is always the same. The best camera for any given photograph is the one you have with you when a photo opportunity arises. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? But I can’t even count the times people have told me that they witnessed some truly special event and didn’t have a camera with them to record it. Heck, I spent twenty years riding all over the United States without carrying a camera with me. My rationale was that I was on vacation from my job as a professional photographer and wanted to leave that activity behind me when I was on holiday. How sorry I am now for adopting that philosophy. I can’t begin to remember all the beautiful scenes I left behind me undocumented. These days I don’t go anywhere without a camera and this image is a prime example of why. This scene was captured two minutes from my home on a trip to the local grocery store. A rogue storm had joy passed over the north shore Long Island village I live in and the sun came screaming in behind the last of the receding ominous skies. The rays of sunlight being diffused by the clouds were cast off in all directions and revealed the image you see here…a scene that lasted for perhaps a minute before fading away. My Nikon Z6II camera with a Nikkor 28-300MM zoom lens (a lens I affectionately refer to as "The Streetsweeper" for its ability to cover almost every probable scenario) travels with me everywhere. I pulled off the road, hopped out of my Jeep and captured this image before it was gone forever. Too many times in the past I have let great images slip away because I didn’t have a camera with me; or didn’t take the time to stop and record a worthy scene. These days I constantly repeat my new mantra: "Get it before it gets away". I stop EVERY time I think I see something that could potentially make a great photograph. In these modern times there is virtually no reason for this to happen and almost every conceivable event is recorded. Smart phones, and their ever-improving cameras, have made everyone a photographer these days. In 2019 I came upon a scene while traveling on The Foothills Parkway in eastern Tennessee overlooking The Great Smoky Mountains. The sun was rising over the distant range and I pulled into a scenic overlook. I quickly took a photograph of the unfolding scene with my iPhone before taking out my much more sophisticated Nikon camera gear. That very first image, captured at the most perfect time, turned out to be the most dramatic of all of the images I recorded at that stop. It was chosen by the editors of BMW Owners News (The official publication of BMW Motorcycle Owners of America) for display in their fine magazine. In 2020 it was chosen as the cover shot for that same organization’s "Anonymous Book"; a resource that is distributed to tens of thousands of members. Morale of the story: there really is no reason whatsoever to miss a shot these days. Keep your eyes open, your camera (even a smart phone) at the ready and "Get it before it gets away"!