Holding Steady

A shelled and partially chewed hickory nut lies on a bed of moss

A shelled and partially chewed hickory nut lies on a bed of moss

I went on a nature walk with the Chattanooga Audubon Society Saturday.  I ran late leaving because I was so engrossed in a book.   When I realized it was time to go, I grabbed my camera with a 100mm macro lens on it.

I haven’t shot macro in a long time.  This is in part because it takes a lot of time.  To get good macro shots, a tripod is essential and I spend a lot of the time on the ground, sometimes crawling through things I’d rather not crawl through.

But today, I decided to try shooting macro without the drama.  No tripod.  No garbage bag to lie on.  No loupe to check focus.  No reflector to bounce light.  No baggage to get in my way.  This has become my modus operandi of late–just grab the camera and one lens and see what I can get while I’m out doing something else.

I learned this often beautiful fungus (although past its prime here) is commonly called "Turkey Tail"

I learned this often beautiful fungus (although past its prime here) is commonly called “Turkey Tail”

Of course, reviewing my photos, I missed my equipment.  Standing in awkward positions, hovering over various fungi and tiny plants is not the best way to get sharp images.  But was I on a nature walk or was I doing macro photography?  I was on a nature walk and I happened to get a few shots I kind of like.  I also got a bunch of shots I don’t like at all and a few in between.

A funny fungus that's supposedly edible.  Can't imagine it's good.  Unfortunately, a little motion blur in this one

A funny fungus that’s supposedly edible. Can’t imagine it’s good. Unfortunately, a little motion blur in this one

A lot of photographers will not share photos they don’t think are really good.  No photo is perfect.  And at some point, it takes courage to say “this photo is enough” and share it.  In fact, it probably requires more courage to share something you think is really good than it does to share something you think is just good enough.  After all, if you really believe your work is fantastic and someone knocks it down, it hurts a lot more than if you didn’t think it was that great to begin with.

The entire length of this Box Elder looked like this--a deep carpet of bright green moss

The entire length of this Box Elder looked like this–a deep carpet of bright green moss

I find myself wondering if I am a coward hiding behind grab shots rather than putting something up that I really believe is beautifully executed.  Sometimes, not putting yourself all-in can indicate a lack of courage.  If I’m not all-in, you can’t hurt me–at least not all of me.

Here's something you don't expect to find in January--wild violets (a spring ephemeral) popping up

Here’s something you don’t expect to find in January–wild violets (a spring ephemeral) popping up

On the other hand, to be willing to do things halfway allows time and energy to do more.  After all, if I went on the nature walk without my camera, I would still be out shooting and not sitting here pondering the philosophical aspects of deciding to be a “real” photographer vs playing at being one when it’s convenient.

Ultimately, is going halfway an act of cowardice or just setting a limit that allows me to enjoy more?  I think the answer lies in how much I want to end up with better images–how passionate I feel about producing an image I’m proud of.

While I’m busy figuring it out, please enjoy what I’ve got.

Tisen has decided he's OK with my halfway photography (taken with iPhone)

Tisen has decided he’s OK with my halfway photography (taken with iPhone)

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2 responses to “Holding Steady

  1. all of your photos look great! You really are your own worst critic lol. I know that you, knowing so much about what works best makes it more of a pressure to produce your very best. But, I am glad that you are comfortable enough with your expertise to share some pics that aren’t perfect yet informative and enjoyable to those of us who don’t know what perfect is lol

    • Thank you! I sometimes get frustrated that I am not really improving much these days. I know what to do, I just don’t seem to feel motivated to make the extra effort right now. I appreciate your encouragement.

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