The Perfect Shot

I have a compulsion to capture fleeting moments, and I envy the photographer’s eye—the ability to see the perfect shot. Honed skills meld with instincts as the expert swiftly moves in for the kill…snap. “I got it,” seeps through grinning lips.     

One of my husband's "Perfect Shots."


My husband has this talent, although he argues amateur abilities only. I follow him around on our photo shoots and stand behind him trying to see through his eyes. On a recent excursion, I noticed him retracing my steps and heard him whisper, “Yes,” while snapping a picture of the scene I saw.     

Sunset in Havasu


I smiled.     

The perfect shot occurs in a surreal moment when all of what you desire comes together—the clean angle, engaging subject, perfect lighting. You only have a moment to aim, focus, and shoot.     


Last night I had a dream about the perfect shot. I was encircling this magnificent performance, in a trolley-like train car, snapping pictures of actors, dancers, and singers. The scenes flashed before me in rapid succession, and I had to react instantly to capture the moment.     


Then just before the trolley rounded a corner, I saw a scene that astounded me. The perfect angle revealed multiple layers of enchantment: a quaint European town in the background with scenes and people poised in the foreground. Every artistic element came together in a way I had never previously experienced. I drew my camera to my eye, aimed, focused, and hit the button.     


“Clunk.” The train rounded the corner and I groaned, “Agggg!” I missed the perfect shot. Disappointment constricted my gut causing physical pain.     

As the dream continued, someone yelled, “JoDee, get on the stage, they’re waiting for you.”     

The time for capturing the scene rolled into my need to get into the scene. I handed my camera to a youth standing beside and said, “Now it’s your turn.” Then I ran and climbed onto the stage.     

We never forget those missed shots, decidedly perfect in our eyes. As I related the dream to my husband, he told of his missed perfect shot. He groaned while remembering.      

“My former wife and I had taken our children to Disneyland and were waiting to see the parade. Andrea and Jason saw Mickey Mouse and screamed, “Mickey, Mickey!”     

Mickey turned and I cried, “Run kids.” They ran and nestled under his arms as I raised the camera. I had an instant to capture a moment that would pass forever. I snapped one shot and then Mickey turned and joined the parade.     

The children’s mother yelled, “Did you get it?”     

“Yes.” I cried.     

But when I returned and developed the film, that shot was number 37 on a 36 roll.”     

I felt his pain.     

Do you remember the perfect shot you missed? I would love to hear about it.

6 Replies to “The Perfect Shot”

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