In this feature Bill demonstrates his versatility and accomplishment with a wide range of techniques and types of photography. Thanks to him for his thoughtful consideration of this article. We now turn the article over to Bill.
I am an avid enthusiast who began shooting more seriously in 2012 after my retirement from NASA. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio and still reside in the area. We have a variety of photography opportunities including city skylines, a revitalized lakefront, sports and performing arts, and a wonderful metropolitan park system. In addition, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is only 40 minutes away.
I enjoy shooting many different subjects among them being city scenes, lakefronts, landscapes and parks, sports, the performing arts, macro, wildlife and of course I love to travel to take in some of the wonders of nature and historical venues we have in the United States.Over the last couple of years, I have added infrared photography to my interests.
Some of my favorite shots are ones that require venturing well beyond the nearest parking area or overlook. I find that a short hike or even a day hike allows me to experience the surroundings in a more meaningful way beyond getting the image itself. An example would be taking a trail that leads to a waterfall. You can hear the water before you can see it. The sound stimulates the senses and begins to rev up the creative process. When you arrive, you may find there is no one specific view point that is frequently used. You can create your own unique compositions as you explore the area taking in all that it offers and spending as much time as you want.
I honestly can’t recall exactly how I found Nikonians. I am guessing it was from a Google search and likely no less than eight years ago. Upon exploring Nikonians, I quickly realized it was an excellent resource for learning from others about my Nikon gear and differing types of photography through the forums. As my skills and knowledge grew, I found it even more rewarding as a Nikonian to share my experiences and help other members.
Nikonians is a great resource for asking questions of more knowledgeable photographers for their opinions, recommendations, and their approach to address various challenges. A great example is how a Nikonian helped me to develop my infrared processing workflow using Lightroom and Photoshop without the need for pre-processing an image (IR white balance) in Nikon’s NX2. NX2 had become an unstable application after NIK no longer provided support and it became frustrating to use.
If I could offer a few words of advice, it would be to enjoy yourself. Keep shooting and try not to become frustrated. A good day can have 1000 clicks, no keepers, yet still give you magnificent memories of where you were and what your senses were able to enjoy.
Regarding keepers, I continue to become more and more aware that interpretation of the scene, and the approach to capturing it, is usually more important than my equipment which is a mix mainly mid-level bodies and lenses. In other words, I view myself as the weak link in getting the “nice shot” for many situations.
I believe having true pro equipment across the board will not inherently make me a better photographer at this time. I’ll give an example. I recently bought a D500. I wanted a crop body for birds and sports. I love the camera and that it can shoot 10 FPS with a shutter as fast as 1/8000.
One of my first outings with the camera was attending a major league ball game with a concentration on trying to catch shots of the bat contacting the ball. I quickly learned that even at 10 FPS, most clicks were either before contact or after. I actually did better when I set the camera back to single shot and watched the pitchers release through one eye and watched the batter in the view finder with the other eye and then timing my click based on the batters stride and initial forward movement of his bat.
Sometimes, you just need to be lucky to get the keeper. On my drive home from a photo outing in the Michigan Upper Peninsula in October, 2014, I planned to stop at Marblehead Lighthouse on Lake Erie in time for shooting sunset and full moon rise. Alas, rain was with me the entire drive. I decided to stop as planned although my expectation of getting any keepers was near zero. I spent some time chatting with a photographer I met in the parking lot who was there for the same purpose. As the critical moment for sunset was near, the rain subsided to a mist and we set up our tripods and cameras (D600 with 28-300 lens for me), hoping nature would give us a break. Then, the rain picked up again just a few minutes before official sunset and we each decided to pack up. I dismounted my camera, placed it in my backpack in the car, and was in the process of putting the tripod in the trunk when the other photographer said “stop.” I looked up from the trunk as the sky opened briefly allowing a gorgeous double rainbow to form. I quickly grabbed my camera and began to shoot hand held. It was nature at its best. I was not able to shoot as wide as I would have liked, but just the same was overwhelmed and overjoyed with the sight.
We thank you again, Bill, for telling us about your diverse photographic trek, sharing with us your images, your joy for photography and your insights; and for taking the time to collaborate for this article.
More articles that might interest you