photography from the ground up

Take Your Camera

One of the first things I tell my beginning digital photography students is:“Always have a camera with you!”. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have come across a wonderful scene and, without a camera, could only stand there and appreciate it. Not a bad thing, but as a photographer…!!!

I was driving into town for groceries-a sixty mile drive for me-and this scene unfolded along US Hwy. 550. I stood on the shoulder and waited until traffic cleared so I could make this image. Sometimes the light and the conditions combine to create a scene that may never happen again in exactly the same way. Be ready when that happens.

This image was made in a friend’s driveway. I was visiting him and noticed these leaves lying on the snow. I was drawn by the way they were nestled together and slightly embedded into the snow . I was taking my own advice that day and had a camera with me. The next time I visited him the leaves and the snow were gone.

This last image was made while I was driving from Albuquerque to Los Alamos to teach one of my classes. Just south of Santa Fe, these tracks cross under 1-25. I had gotten off the freeway and driven down the frontage road to the bridge over the tracks. I made several exposures of them from different points of view and was climbing up the bank to where my car was parked when I heard the whistle. The Southwest Chief (Amtrak), on it’s run from Chicago to Albuquerque was rounding the bend through the cut in La Bajada.

The point of these anecdotes is to illustrate the importance of being prepared. If you are in the right place at the right time armed with a camera a whole new world of possibilities opens up. To paraphrase Jack London: “You can’t wait for opportunity, you have to go after it with a club”.

12 responses

  1. John P. Meyer

    Basic advice, and well worth noting. Great illustrations to go with the thought, too.


    March 20, 2012 at 10:02 am

  2. Love that top image!


    March 20, 2012 at 10:52 am

    • Thanks Mike. It took nearly half an hour of dodging traffic, but it was well worth it.


      March 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm

  3. My camera is always in my purse, now if I could only remember to take it and shoot some of the awe-inspiring things I see here! 🙂


    March 20, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    • You need to think and look at things photographically. If you continuously frame what you see in your mind’s eye, taking out your camera and making an image will become a part of the process.


      March 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm

  4. Pingback: Sunset reflecting off Honeysuckle « Kelly Wood

  5. cameron



    March 23, 2012 at 4:28 am

  6. great composition


    March 27, 2012 at 7:17 pm

  7. fantastic


    April 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm

  8. Magnificent shots!


    May 16, 2013 at 6:26 am

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