Exposed! :: Camera Confidence - Replacing Daniel Alfredsson::

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This past hockey season I was asked to replace Daniel Alfredsson (NHL hockey superstar) in a hockey game. It was a big deal for me! I was nervous replacing the hockey hero - could I perform to expectations?

Sound absurd?! It was - especially if you've witnessed my 'mediocre-at-best' hockey skills.

This absurd reality came to me as a vivid stress dream on the eve of a significant photo assignment with many unknown elements.

In this month's Exposed! newsletter we discuss camera confidence, performance anxiety and performing under stress.

Daniel Alfredsson speaking at an event.
Daniel Alfredsson speaking at an event.

The assignment was not that difficult but had many unknowns that required reactive performance. I arrived, shot, filed the work and moved on to the next day's challenge. Everything went smoothly and the client was happy.

After almost twenty years of shooting I still get butterflies. Cases of 'the nerves' are common but usually the level is minimal and serves to keep me sharp. Sometimes the army of stress butterflies comes in full force causing disruption. My stress symptoms vary:

Stress can be a good thing. When the butterflies are minor they actually help me perform.

Stress is a built in defense mechanism - it heightens our attention when danger is perceived. It helps us prepare to overcome possible hazards or dangers.

As a photographer, my hazards or dangers are usually limited to non-performance. There are times that I HAVE to get that shot. My livelihood depends on it. Usually work related photo stresses help ensure I get the shot by being prepared for anything.

Coping strategies

To keep photo stress from looming large there are ways to keep stress manageable:


Read the coping systems.
Do the coping systems.

Pro Perspective

Below are some actual stressful job related experiences I've had:

Years ago, I assisted Malak Karsh in the Yukon and, silly me, I locked the keys inside our rented truck. I thought he was going to be really upset! He wasn't happy but simply said "I've made every mistake in the book."

A lot of 'exciting events' have happened during assignments and work related events. I look back and can laugh, now!

It's true - mistakes and challenges will happen. Learning to prepare for the unknown is key to keeping stress manageable.

Final Frame

I'm no match for Alfredsson on the ice but with the right approach I've learned to keep the butterflies in formation to perform with a camera.

Take photos.
Believe in your camera confidence.
Have fun!

What's your best work place scramble story?