A photo that worked


Photo by Ellen Kolb, taken at Beaver Brook Wayside, Colebrook NH

I always have a camera with me when I’m hiking, but that doesn’t make me a photographer. I’m just a hiker who likes to document my trips. Most of my photographs fall to the Delete button: badly framed, or out-of-focus, or just-didn’t-work.

This one DID work – and it came about by accident. I was at a lovely little roadside area upstate, setting up to photograph a waterfall. I glanced down, and right in front of me was a stunning butterfly on a stunning flower. I changed gears immediately and went to work with the macro setting on my camera. I probably couldn’t have come up with a better shot if I’d spent a week planning it.

This was an accidental success. What I’d like to learn is how to be successful on purpose. I’m a point-and-shoot kind of hiker, but I know better photos aren’t going to happen unless I put some thought into the process. How can I frame the big scenic shots? How can I control depth of field? Will I ever make the leap from pre-set buttons to manual control?

(And what kind of butterfly did I capture, anyway?)

2 thoughts on “A photo that worked

  1. Making the leap from auto to manual was also a topic of discussion in a recent photography class that I took. The instructor had 2 comments on the matter. (1) Read your camera manual, because he said, you only have to do it once; and (2) turn off the auto. I’m still working on point (2). There are features that I don’t understand yet and in desperation, I sometimes turn to auto. There’s more here: http://writingwelldesignandphoto.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/best-advice-from-a-professional-photographer/

    What a fortuitous moment to capture that butterfly. And, as I always say, “If you take a great photograph, it doesn’t matter the circumstance. It’s still a great shot.” Cheers!

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