Friday, September 9, 2011

Patience

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Viceroy, Orlando Wetlands Park
Patience is one of the more overlooked skills to develop in outdoor photography.  We concentrate a lot on exposure and composition, but with all that knowledge, we still miss shots simply because we aren't patient.  We need patience in at least two ways:
  1. The best photographic conditions often come and go.  For instance, your scene may have harsh shadows, but if you wait a minute, the clouds will cover the sun giving you an ideal situation.  Or, there's bird you want to photograph, but he's not looking the right way.  But if you're patient, you might find that he turns his head so that you get great catch light in the birds eyes.
  2. You can sometimes create better photographic conditions.  Explore your subject from many different angles; approach your subject in a variety of different ways.  I often suggest to people to give themselves an assignment.  Find one subject, and spend at least an hour photographing that one subject.  Shoot the subject from every conceivable angle of view; use every lens you own; and try every exposure trick you can think of.  Get as much out of your subject as you possibly can.  People often find that their later photographs end up being better than their earlier ones.
I'm including in this post a series of photographs I took of a Viceroy Butterfly at Orlando Wetlands Park on Labor Day.  The photograph at the beginning of this post is the last photograph I took.  The rest are in chronological order.  I wouldn't even show most of them except to illustrate this point.  When I saw the butterfly, he was not in a very attractive setting, but as I followed him around, he moved to various places.  At one point I even shot him using my head to cast a shadow on him to change the lighting.  But the more I followed him, the more I had opportunities to shoot him in different situations, and eventually I got one I was pretty happy with.
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Viceroy in the Grass
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Viceroy in the Sand
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Viceroy on Flower
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Viceroy on Flower

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