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What is a Break the Jinx Shot?

A couple weeks back, while down in Florida, we were working the birds at Otter Pond and a Wood Duck came out of a cove in the back. The light was okay, but the subject was so far away that I had to use the D5, 600 f/4, TC-17EII AND High Speed Crop to get this photo. Why go through all that work when the shot wasn’t that great to begin with? To break the jinx.

In wildlife photography there is an old “superstition” that we refer to as the break the jinx shot. Whenever you come across a new species that you don’t have in your files, you take a picture of it. Even if the photograph absolutely sucks and you can’t do anything with it, you take the shot. The logic being that if you take that shot, then your odds of getting a better shot of that species later on will increase. Hense breaking the jinx. The trick with it is if you do get a better opportunity later, you have to keep those original shots. You can never delete the break the jinx shots or else you put the jinx back on yourself. With digital that’s not really a big deal because storage is pretty easy these days. Photography is full of these little myths and some are real and some aren’t. For me this was the second time during the trip that I saw a Wood Duck. The first time it was gone in a flash and I was kicking myself I didn’t get a click. I made sure to break the jinx this time because I do want to add this species to my files.

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