One of my favorite things when I'm out by myself is to simply explore with no agenda or expectations. Lundy Canyon near Mono Lake is a great place for this, especially those few days in autumn when the yellow aspen leaves are evenly distributed between the trees and the forest floor. If I don't take a single frame, I'm still richer for the experience.
The entire length of Mill Creek west of Lundy Lake is great for this kind of exploring. I've been to Lundy Canyon enough to have favorite spots like this one, originally uncovered on one of my private explorations, and now a must-stop on every visit. I like the way the creek tumbles down the rock and bends abruptly before continuing its race down the canyon. Getting down to this spot is an exercise in dedication (how much do you want it?) because the branches are dense (and sharp!), the slope is steep, and the footing along the creek is treacherous. (I'm not comparing my effort here to the death defying lengths Galen Rowell went to for his images, but it is a reminder that the most memorable images are usually those that require the most work or discomfort.)
I've been thinking lately about what photography means to me, and how I've managed to maintain my enjoyment despite the fact that it's my livelihood. I contrast my experience of photography with others I observe in the field, on forums, and in blogs, and sometimes can't help but wonder why they do it at all if photography is such a source of frustration and even anger.
For myself I can say that my decision to pursue photography as a career came with the very conscious decision to continue photographing only those things I want to photograph: That is, I want to photograph natural light, landscape, fine art. I feel very fortunate that the approach I envisioned as I embarked on this quest has worked for me.
But what's with all these "photographers," amateur and pro, who seem to spend their time ranting about other photographers, their own equipment, the other brand ("My camera can beat up your camera"), and pretty much anything else having to do with photography? A few weeks ago I came across an entire website dedicated to maligning another landscape photographer. Seriously, somebody thought it was a good idea to spend significant quantities of their precious time tearing down another photographer who, as far as I could tell, had done nothing wrong besides violate some vague and previously unspecified landscape photography code of conduct.
Fortunately the antidote for this negativity is simple: Grab your camera, run outside, and photograph something beautiful. (It's out there, I promise.)
A few words on water motion blur: There is no magic shutter speed that will blur water. Rather, several variables determine the degree of blur (if any): focal length, distance from the water, and the speed of the water. Also, white water blurs much better than smooth water. Until you're comfortable with blurring moving water, bracket your shutter speeds and examine your LCD closely (even magnifying the preview image if necessary) after each capture. Be aware of the degree of blur, as sometimes a very slight blur works best, and other times completely smoothing the water is best.
Next post: July 26 (please view my previous posts by clicking the arrow in the upper left of today's image)
* Website: Eloquent Images
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