For success — leave demons behind, use photo techniques that work.

Turks Cap Lily
Turks Cap Lily

First, I have to talk about  a terrific break through we have just discovered with oatmeal – Pomegranates. They are really great mixed in with my oatmeal. No Sugar, no raisins – just cinnamon and Poms. Crunchy, sweet – just right!

Now, I just finished watching the USA National College Championship Game, or parts of it between drifting off. Finally I turned the TV off and slept – in fact I had to turn the TV back on to find out who won. Not quite David & Goliath but, I learned this morning from the Herd ESPN show that halfway through this season, Urban Meyer the Ohio State coach said, I never thought we had a shot at the championship, this was a team in transition and it was too soon – we were in transition with a new coach. That sounds like a David to me. Then Meyer said, the individuals grew into their place all of a sudden – the individuals.

I couldn’t help think how much that was like photography or any growing thing. It’s the individuals, fighting the demons as Meyer called them. growing up. deciding to do it.

And partly I was ready to hear that because just before I had been looking at wildflowers I had captured a few years ago – trying to decide for a book maybe. I was reliving the experience(s). Late March morning, maybe in the 50°s, lying on the ground with tripod legs splined out, an old lens that I needed extension tubes to get close enough to for my composition – but oh what I saw through that lens.

Wood Poppy, buds in dew Waynesville, NC
Wood Poppy, buds in dew
Waynesville, NC



I happened to be there at the right time – dew on the budding flowers, fresh leaves, spring at it’s earliest awaking here in the mountains.



So, I want to say if anyone out there is not seeing success – just stay with it. Keep learning and practicing. It will happen.

But we have to keep practicing the things that work. Keep it simple.

First thing I might offer is to simplify procedures. I still use simple procedures today.

Once I settle on the lens to use. Wide Angle for Landscapes, Telephoto for wildflowers. I didn’t say macro — telephoto, and maybe an extension tube or double element close up lens if the Telephoto doesn’t get you close enough to your subject.

Then I set the dial for Aperture Priority. Use manual if you want but, it will slow you down. And SLOW may not be what you want in the field, with changing light. But, however you do it – open the lens aperture up (largest opening) all the way. If set on AP the shutter speed will set automatically and incidentally give you as much shutter speed as possible  – to give you proper exposure.

Focus – what you see is what you will get – that is how the camera is designed. It’s that simple. Don’t not try to make it complicated. Look through the lens – focus, if you like the image – press the shutter button. That’s it. Change position, Repeat. Change position, Repeat. DO NOT TRY TO MAKE A PERFECT IMAGE IN THE FIELD – There are no single perfect images! There are many images that tell the story in different ways; but there are no SINGLE PERFECT images. WE ARE THERE TO RECORD WHAT IS HAPPENING, WHAT WE SEE.

What will happen is that you will begin to get your mind off your camera — you will begin to see and sense, and feel. That is what we need. Photography, is Writing with light – communicating what is happening, where you are. If making pretty pictures is your goal – that’s fine. That will happen too by simplifying your procedure. Excitement and fun happens — enjoy being where you are. Practice things that work. Enjoy success.

For a more complete discussion on photographing wildflowers go to 8 tips For Photographing Wildflowers.

To further expand your understanding of Aperture, Shutter speed, and ISO go to Digital Photography School

For other tips on photographing nature go to

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
Ansel Adams

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