Okay, so apparently the city of Homestead, Florida celebrated their 100th Anniversary February 2nd, 2012. You would think I would know this since I live in Homestead but...no.
Anyway, while sitting on the couch watching Star Wars with my wife and son we started hearing very loud explosions outside. Naturally I ran straight for them and was both pleased and confused to see a major fireworks display happening. It seemed as if it were on top of our house.
I grabbed my son and we went outside. Kim joined us a few seconds later. These were really good fireworks and I made the offhand comment, "I wish I could set my camera up". Kim said why don't you. I thought, I don't know if I have time but why not!
I ran into the house grabbed the camera bag, opened it up, swapped lenses, ran out the door while setting my camera to 2.5 sec @ f4, got my tripod out of my truck, set it all up, and finally took a shot... Well, I tried too. It turns out that I didn't have a card in the cameras so back into the house I ran, grabbed the card out of the computer, ran back outside, slapped it in and took a test shot. The first one was overexposed because I had been shooting in a very dim place the night before. I changed it from ISO 1600 to ISO 200 and took the shot in this blog post. It was the only shot that I kept because the rest of the display was too chaotic to make for good images.
It took me about 2min. to go from zero to this shot. My gear had been stowed away and left on the settings from the night before. The only reason I got this one shot is because I knew what setting to put in my camera. I knew my gear and how to use it even outside in the dark while in a great hurry.
Okay, that is the Know Your Gear part of this post. What about the Be Ready part?
There are some things that I typically do when I am done with a shoot that I did not do the night before. Normally, I set the camera back to ISO 200, my aperture to f5.6 and my shutter to 1/160th of a second. I do this because should I need the camera I will know the basic settings. This time however I did not. The second thing that I do is once the card is downloaded and the images confirmed I format the card and put it back into the camera. So, why didn't I do these things? I was tired and didn't have another shoot planned. By thinking that way I was not very prepared. I was not ready.
While I was able to get a cool shot I might have had one more opportunity had everything been set the right way when I finished the night before.
The moral of the story is Know your Gear and be READY!