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IN THE FIELD: Hey, What The Heck Is He Doing?

It was a bright clear morning the other day, and I was out photographing the wildflowers our neighbor planted near the road. Not much was blooming at the time, except for some daises and what appeared to be Sweet William plants.

With my camera mounted on the tripod and cable release in hand, I went about shooting the first bloomers. The light was perfect since it was early and the sun was still low. I didn’t feel the need to use a reflector or flash to fill in shadows or even a diffuser to cut back the light. Because it was bright enough to use shutter speeds just fast enough to stop the movement of the flowers in the light breeze, and still use wide apertures, I was able to obtain a shallow depth of field.

I was sitting in the grass composing this shot when I heard a car coming down the street. We don’t have a lot of traffic here, so when an unfamiliar car slows down then stops nearby, it’s noticed. I didn’t recognize the vehicle or the folks inside. They just sat there for about ten seconds, no smiles or waves, and drove off. I suppose they had never seen a person sitting on the ground with a camera and tripod surrounded by two-foot tall daises.

I will be frequenting this spot not only for the convenience it affords, but for the variety of plants growing there. I wonder if any other cars will stop to look and see “what the heck is that guy doing?”

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  1. May 7, 2012 at 8:48 am

    I would first like to thank you for explaining how you achieved the shot, it is after all educational for old fellows learning like me. I would never have thought of using a tripod and a camera set up as you described.
    The shot has such a different quality to what a flash or reflector would have given. Please continue to sit there and let the people wonder “What the heck is he up to” I love the result and the lesson imparted.

    • May 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Bulldog, they are appreciated. I enjoy helping folks any way I can through my experiences and helpful hints. Feel free to drop my a line anytime!

  2. May 7, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Love the shot! I should get into the habit of hauling my tripod with me but I’m lazy and often flutter about as much as my subject matter. As always, love your tips.

    • May 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      Thanks Teri, tripods can be annoying, but I find I am not as steady as I used to be…maybe it’s from the craft beers…so I bring mine everywhere…or my monopod. Seriously…I find I get in the “zone” better and spend more time with the composition.

  3. May 7, 2012 at 9:28 am

    David, I get the same result when I have my big 500mm on a tripod. People just have to know what I am looking at. Great photo, BTW, and good story. 🙂

    • May 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      Ha Ha Ha…”hey what are you lookin’ at?” Isn’t funny how people are…if we weren’t there with our cameras, folks wouldn’t even noticed what’s right under there noses!

      • May 7, 2012 at 5:58 pm

        You got that right. 🙂

  4. May 7, 2012 at 11:20 am

    As always so beautiful photograph and nice sharing with important points… Thank you dear David, with my love, nia

    • May 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Thanks NIa, I am glad you enjoyed this!

  5. May 7, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Great shot, David! It’s a reaction I usually get when I bring my camera out during a walk too…and I don’t even have the “big guns”…LOL.

    • May 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks Gracie, I don’t have any big guns either…well I do have a Sigma 400mm with a Minolta mount but no one makes a converter so I could use it on my Nikon. So it sits in my old camera backpack and only sees the light of day when I get big glass envy. I even get “what do you have a camera for” from total strangers…or really goofy looks!

  6. May 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I can totally relate, David! I get a lot of strange looks whenever I am working on one of my environmental art works–particularly those that involve me staring at one object for any lengthier period of time 🙂

    Nice shot!

    • May 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      Hey what’s she lookin’ at?? Funny how some folks go through life with blinders on.

  7. May 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    We have a lot of traffic here, so when I photograph flower or plants roadside, I feel very uncomfortable, embarrassed because people is looking at me and probably are wondering “what is he looking for? there is nothing interesting.” And sometimes I use just a 50cm long tripod…

    • May 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      I never worry about what people think when I am out with my camera. Most folks you will never see again so who cares what they think. I look at it this way…I’m having fun and they are not!

  8. May 8, 2012 at 1:08 am

    I like that shot! Perhaps when people stop out of curiosity it will sensitize them just a bit to some of the beautiful things that someone might be studying. At lest I hope so.

    • May 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      Thanks Montucky, I should hope that’s what would happen. But I have found most folks don’t notice the things we photographers do…oh well their loss. Maybe that’s why we do what we do…so folks will notice the world around them. It a wonderful place we call home!

  9. May 8, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Colin does the same thing when taking pics of flowers & butterflies in the roadside verges. He gets in some really impossible positions and when a car goes past I feel almost obliged to say “he’s fine, really!” and wave apologetically! I love the dewdrops on the daisies – just perfect.

    • May 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      We should have a camera filming strangers reactions to us while we are out and about with cameras in hand. I bet it would be pretty funny! I like the dewdrops also…it added just a little something.

  10. May 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I like the waterdrops on the flower. Nice shot! The camera set up next to the flowers should have been a giveaway as to what you were doing.

    • May 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      Thanks Fergie, I thought the dewdrops worked pretty well. Some of the flowers didn’t have any on them. Guess I got there just in time. Some people are just clueless…camera on a tripod…what’s that for?

  11. May 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I find people look at me strangely too! like today when I took a photo of ‘Mind the Gap’ on the Bank underground. People really did need to ‘mind that gap’ – it was over a foot wide! 🙂

    • May 9, 2012 at 8:41 am

      The reactions are pretty funny we get from folks. Mind the gap??? That’s getting close to a canyon!

  12. May 8, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    I’m looking forward to seeing more of these wild flowers your neighbour has planted. These daisies are stunning. I’m excited for you.

    • May 9, 2012 at 8:43 am

      I’m hoping to have plenty of subject matter…the hillside has filled in nicely! Things should start opening up more…the rain has ended!

  13. May 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Lovely photo, David. Aren’t people’s reactions interesting? I’ve heard everything from “What are you looking at” to “Wow, I never noticed that” to “I saw that too and I’m glad someone is taking a picture of it.” I’ve found most people to be curious, interested, and friendly.

  14. May 13, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Vivid! Wonder how long they would have gawked if you had been lying in the grass (sometimes necessary to get that perfect shot).

    • May 14, 2012 at 11:20 am

      I bet for quite some time…then they would have run up to the house and said there is a body in your wildflowers! Hurry!

  15. May 13, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    That is so cool! Thanks for the explanation!

    • May 14, 2012 at 11:21 am

      Thanks Zen, I like to pass along tid-bits of info whenever I can!

  16. Nandini
    May 14, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Lovely. 🙂

    • May 14, 2012 at 11:22 am

      Thanks You Nandini, the daises have really filled in now!

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