IN THE FIELD: Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
As photographers, whenever we are out and about, either going for a walk in the park or driving down the road, it pays to be aware of what’s around us.
When we take the time to “participate in the landscape” as the late Galen Rowell said, photo opportunities present themselves. Spend some time in the park before getting the camera out. Walk the streets of the towns we live in and take a hard look around before putting the viewfinder up to our eye. Before we know it, this habit becomes second nature and we see things we may have missed had we not taken the time.
I live in a wooded area, and the scenery changes from day to day. Especially this year with the accelerated spring season we are experiencing. Wildflowers are beginning to bloom and brighten up the forest floor, trees and shrubs are flowering and putting out new leaves for the season. When we walk the pups in the morning, not only are we watching what they are getting into, but we also keep an eye out for photo opportunities.
I have found walking the dogs and carrying a tripod and camera is not an easy task. Our pups are terriers and are the determined sort. And yes, they do talk to us through facial expressions and body language.
“I want to go over here and stick my face in this tall clump of stuff and see what’s in it. That metal thing with three legs you’re carrying is getting in my way, David. Why can’t you leave that darn thing at home? Besides, If we want to chase a turkey or a chipmunk, you’re gonna have a hard time keeping up.”
Well, the pups make a good point. Except for the fact the early morning light changes quickly here and is different by the time we get home from our walk. Which means I have to go back out and try to make do with exposures in brighter harsher light. I know I advocate using a tripod whenever possible, but there are times when it just isn’t practical.
So instead of bringing the tripod or monopod, I put the camera strap back on, put the camera over my neck and also use a device called a stabilizer strap made by Optech. http://optechusa.com/stabilizer-strap.html. This simple strap allows me to go anywhere the dogs are determined to go, within reason, and not have the camera swing to and fro and bang into trees or myself. With no tripod or monopod, another issue comes into play. Low light and hand-holding a camera.
Fortunately, digital cameras allow for situations like this. You can adjust the ISO to a higher setting and still get acceptable exposures when hand-holding a camera in low light situations. It’s not always the best method, but it sure beats missing a good photo-op, especially when you cannot make a return visit. Or when your puppy sees a turkey.