Light is Everything!

Photo Walk: Winter Prairie

The weather warmed up a ridiculous amount today. So much so that it was nice enough to go for a walk. And if you’re going for a walk, you might as well bring your camera! Truth is, I messed up my back shovelling snow the other day and sitting is no good for me. So out the door with the dog I went.

What’s there to take pictures of in winter? The landscapes are bleak. Everything is dead. Color has turned into shades of grey. Most of the time it’s too cold to be much fun – especially on the prairies where you have to worry about the windchill. Can you even get pictures worth taking in these conditions? I asked myself that question before I ventured out and hurdled the barbed wire fence behind our house. I tried to do the photo walk Jay Maisel style. Just go out walking – slowly – and take a look at what you’re lookin’ at.  The slowly part was no problem for me today. I tried to keep out of the deep snow by walking on old snowmobile trails that nicely packed the terrain. Most of them have been covered over thanks to the driving wind, but you can still see them. At one point though, I ventured off the packed trail and I sunk down to my pants pockets. Great… 😦 But, as I was pondering how to get out of this without wratching my back any further, I noticed a picture.

Coyote Tracks

Seems the coyotes aren’t quite as fat as I am! Must be nice to float across the top!

It’s true though, the faster you rip through an area, the more pictures you miss. Take a few steps, look around. Take another few steps, look around again. Pictures are everywhere. Another thing I noticed about the way Jay Maisel goes out on his photo walks is that he only takes one camera with one lens. So I did the same. I had my D300s and my 70-300. It’s actually quite freeing and fun to try to make shots work with just one lens. The obvious pitfalls – not having wide angle – makes life interesting! As does shooting in Manual, which is pretty much all I shot today. While I was watching Hanky burn off some energy, I happened to look down. I saw the picture, but I couldn’t get it because I had too much glass. I needed to back up a few feet in order to focus on this “last of the survivors” of winter.


I guess the lesson is, there are always pictures around us all the time. We just need to slow down and take a look at what we’re looking at! 🙂

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2 responses

  1. Lia

    Almost all my walks are Jay Maisel style. (I’m a happy wanderer!) I know what you mean about having too much glass for what’s right at your feet. I’ve read an interesting ‘challenge’ whereby you select one focal length and stick to it for the entire outing. That really makes you open your eyes to what is around you.

    Bruce always laughs at me because it doesn’t seem to matter what lens I have on the camera, I always seem to need the other one. Driving down the road I used to keep the 18-55mm on to capture a perfect landscape but invariably we’d see some wildlife and by the time I got the 75-300mm mounted, the darn animal would be gone. Now I keep the long zoom on camera when we’re driving in anticipation of that perfect wildlife shot as the unexpected perfect landscape will wait while I change lenses. (It took me a long time to figure that out. I’m slow that way. )

    February 5, 2011 at 12:27 am

    • I like that idea of the one-focal-length challenge. My favorite is still 50mm. If I was on a desert island with one choice, it would be a 50. (f/1.4) 😉

      The other point with landscapes is that they don’t run away! heheheh… They will still be there and wait for you to put on the wide angle lens! 🙂

      February 5, 2011 at 1:53 am

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