The ABCs

When I taught photography workshops and seminars, and I was working with novices, I always began any instruction with aperture and shutter speed.  Obviously when I worked with experienced photographers we began on the other side of those subjects, although you might be  suprised by just how many experienced photographers did not fully grasp these two things.  I would first begin by describing aperture (f stops) and how it worked (litterally) and how it controlled the quantity of light (f22, f11,f4, etc.) and the depth of field.  I also described what depth of field meant.  I would then explain the shutter and how it functioned.  I would explain ( even actually showing the results with digital) the increasing speed (1 second, 1/60th, 1/2000th etc.) and how that would allow you to blur or stop action.  Then how shutter speed would affect the amount of light getting to your sensor (or film) and affect exposure much the same as aperture did.  Finally I would explain how to mate aperture and shutter speed for both exposure and everything else.  All technical and creative issues are dealt with by the choices you make with aperture and shutter speed.  You can teach a brand new student anything about photography, technical or artistic, once you have thoroughly explained those basics.

About a year before it became impossible for me to teach workshops I taught someone who was starting his own workshops.  He knew photography inside and out, and he believed that teaching brand new photographers would be his fortay.  He was however, lost as to how to begin a workshop.  It seemed complex until I helped (hopefully) him to realize that all of your technical and artistic decisions are arrived via aperture and shutter speed (and focus).  Life is always complicated until you simplify it down to those few basics that are the foundation of everything else.   I think there is little in life that cannot be taught, as long as you start with that premise.  If you want to teach someone to write just teach them to read (the ABCs).

Dew drops that look like a group of celestial bodies.

When I photograph wildlife of any type or size, one thing I have always looked for is interesting (and therefore sellable) groupings.  More than one species, both sexes or both mature and juvenile animals are all good.  Many types of insects are fully mature when they first appear.  That is not the case with Milkweed Bugs.  You will see 4 mature bugs and one youngster in the below picture. 

I find the Barn swallow to be a pretty bird with its shocking orange face.  The bird below is bathed in attractive light, and is preening.

I know that our next subject is not a favorite with everybody.  I find them fascinating but this “arachnid” seems to only have seven appendages.

One of North America’s more popular birds is the American White Pelican.  The top photo was made in Texas and the flight shot was made in New Mexico.

Photo editors have many specific needs.  Among those needs are pictures that are made in different locations.  I have made my share of images in The Great Smoky Mts. N.P. and almost all were made in Tennessee.  Realizing that fact I managed to capture a few waterfalls like the one below, in the North Carolina section of the park.

I love turtles and one of my favorite kinds is the Common Snapping Turtle.  The turtle below was photographed at Bong State Rec. Area, Wisconsin.  She is actually in the process of digging her yearly nest.

The Black Tern pictured below was photographed on the boardwalk at Horicon Marsh NWR in Wisconsin.  You will notice that this bird has a band on its left leg.  Some photographers would be disappointed but I generally thought it made my picture more valuable.  Anyone can photograph a tern without a band.  That may be just what leads an editor to buy your photo.

Forster’s Tern.

I’m home!  Tree Swallow.

The often entertaining and semmingly friendly, immature Black-crowned Night Heron.

I am very fortunate.  I have friends who never abandon me.  You all know who you are and you are far more than I deserve.

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