Welcome to (The Occasional) Photo Tip of the Day! Please also visit my main site jeffwignall.com. Text and photographs Copyright 2014 Jeff Wignall.

"All children are artists. The problem is how

to remain an artist once he grows up."


Pablo Picasso

Thursday, August 30, 2012

How to Photograph Monarch Butterflies

The Monarch butterfly migration has begun and I've already begun seeing them in my garden here in coastal Connecticut. The Monarchs stop daily along their route to feed, so if you live along their migration route, you're sure to have quite a few chances to shoot photos. There is a pretty extensive tutorial on my main site, so if you have a few minutes, take a look. And here is a map of their migration routes/patterns. I shot the photo here on a tithonia blossom in my backyard last September.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Right Place, Right Time, Old Friends

A few weeks ago I was coming home from a photo assignment and my mind was so fried that I decided to stop at a seawall on Long Island Sound just to stare at the distance and unwind. It's amazing how much a few hours of concentrated shooting can take out of you.While I was zoning out a boat with a very colorful sail started tacking back and forth in front of me, sailing out a mile or so, then turning around and sailing back. I realized after a few minutes that it was an old  friend of mine (we went to kindergarten together!) that lives on the beach. With those pretty colors and the nice late-afternoon sun, there was no way I could not shoot some photos--so out came the camera and the 70-300mm Nikkor lens. Since I had the hood of my van to lean on, I ended up shooting handheld--which is extremely rare for me. But with an exposure of 1/1250 second at f/9, I knew I had all of the shutter speed and depth of field I needed to safely shoot handheld.

A week later I was having lunch with another friend at a restaurant on the same seawall and my friend Peter (the person sailing the boat) came peddling by on his bike (this is a very outdoorsy guy!) and he stopped to talk for a while. By utter coincidence he started talking about having a nice sail a week or so back and I remembered the shots I'd taken! I was so pleased that it was in fact him in the boat! He also told me he was in the process of trying to sell the boat, so there was a good chance that my 50 or so shots of him were the last photos he'd have of him sailing his pretty little boat.

Anyway, coincidence plays a huge role in photography (and in life) and it's up to you to take advantage of the moment. I could have just sat, worn out as I was from an afternoon of corporate portrait shooting, to enjoy the pretty boat sailing back and forth. But now that I know it was a childhood friend of mine, I'm so glad I made the effort to take the photos. As I tell all of my students and readers, my mantra is: When you see it, shoot it! Reality doesn't provide many second chances to capture the shots you want.

My New Book: Digital Photography FAQs is now available everywhere. It's nearly 400 pages long and features 365 questions and answers about digital photography. Please tell your friends about the book and about this blog! I've got 138 followers now, but I'd love to have 1,000!