As a serious nature photographer, whenever I go out, my camera (Canon G-12) goes with me. Really, how can it be otherwise in this Golden Age of smart-phones and high-capacity digital cameras no larger than a deck of cards. For me at least, there’s no reason not to be prepared if one encounters a worthy subject.
Every day, unless it’s miserably hot or raining buckets, I take a one-mile walk along the road where we live. And while taking a walk never approaches the “empty exercise” quotient of a stationary bicycle (to my way of thinking), until I began to carry my camera, it was more like a task to be accomplished. Now with my camera serving as an extension of my vision, every day becomes an adventure is seeing.
Of course in Winter (if it gets cold enough) there will be ice-patterns aplenty (see “Ice is Nice“) and after enough rain, fungi to be found (see “Fungi Fun“), but every season presents opportunities to the alert photographer.
Most of what I photograph are the plants, grasses, flowers wild and tame, weeds common and uncommon, as they develop and mature along with tree-flowers and new tree growth. Sometimes various critters make their presence known and become subject matter; basically whatever catches my eye. Something as simple as a Dandelion will present at least two significantly different personae: full flower and seed-head. Crown Vetch provides another example of how different the various stages of flowering.
Because of my camera’s excellent internal stabilization, I don’t even utilize a tripod on these occasions, often holding my subject so that it’s backlit, using natural shade as a background. Not a bad idea to carry a bit of black velveteen with you: in the two examples from my “Vine Design” series, it was positioned behind the subject so as to simplify and eliminate the clutter.
This kind of photography, for the most part, involves small subject matter (macro), but should foggy conditions occur (“atmospherics”), that changes everything and those are the occasions when I try to see “the big picture” and work with the greater landscape.
There are occasions when it makes more sense to carry my discovery back home so as to photograph it in a more controlled environment (if it was too windy, for example).
So while my walk has been made more interesting, I suspect with all the stopping and starting, it may not be the best exercise, but it certainly has provided me a wealth of subject matter close at hand.
More from Warren Krupsaw
Please check out Warren’s latest Moth Photography in his new self-published calendar Mothography 2012.
Warren Krupsaw, a one-time student (and house guest) of Ansel Adams is a nature photographer concentrating on landscape & detail. After participating in the first year of a new graduate program in Photography at M.I.T. with Minor White, he earned his M.F.A. in Photography under Harry Callahan at the R.I.S.D. in 1968.
Book: Portraits of Passion and Other Dalliances