Embracing Photography Failure

When I started this blog five years ago, I was sharing photographs that were shot with a $79 Kodak digital point and shoot camera.  I didn’t know anything about photo editing or even that the photographs needed to be edited.  What came out of the camera got shared on the blog … as is.great blue heron

Like any newbie blogger, I was excited to get that first follow, that first like, and of course, that first comment.  As the months passed, I eagerly continued writing posts filled with photographs.  The comments and followers increased and I developed friendships, friendships that continue to this day.

sandOne day, I received a message.  An email message from a fellow blogger?  Oh, how exciting, I thought!

That excitement was short-lived as I read … “If you’re going to post pictures on your blog, the least you could do is a little photo editing.  There’s no excuse for sharing a photograph with a crooked horizon especially since there’s free editing software like Picasa that’ll fix it in a second. 

Oh and quit posting the photos so little.  If you’re going to share photos, then share photos so we can see them.  Don’t expect readers to click to enlarge because they won’t.  Nobody has time for that.  Aside from the poor pictures, nice blog“.

whooping cranesAll righty then …. I was heartbroken, mortified, and embarrassed.  How is it I was capable of building award-winning custom homes from conception to completion, and yet I knew nothing about photo editing?

Quite frankly, my computer/technology skills were basic at best, which drove my business accountant crazy 🤓

Old school film seemed simple;  snap a bunch of pictures until the roll of film was full then take it to the drugstore to get it developed. Botta bing, botta boom!

poor photograph

FAIL – nice color, relatively sharp, but I didn’t keep panning and thus cut off his head

That message gnawed at me.  Editing?  Hmm!  Google and I became well acquainted.  Picasa was downloaded.  I started following blogs that focused on photography, along with all the RVing blogs I already followed.  As our RV travels increased, so did the photo taking AND sharing.  A slow and steady photographic evolution morphed.

Great Blue Heron

Better – Great Blue Heron     ISO 100     F4     1/800       56.9mm  (35mm equivalent 312mm)

I’ve been humbled by many of your complimentary comments lately about my photography.  Through A LOT of trial and error, I do feel it has improved as have my editing skills, but the compliments and questions still surprise me.  I consider myself a novice, a beginner, a work in progress when it comes to photography.

With that said, I thought I’d share a little behind the scenes, or shall I say, behind the lens with you all, and show you a few of my photo fails and successes…. a post about what works for me, using simple and inexpensive camera gear.

ducks in-flight

Camera set on ‘shutter priority’.  ISO 200  F4.5   1/1600   54.5mm (35mm equivalent= 305mm)

I’m still a comedy of errors behind the lens, and fully embrace my tried and true method of ‘point and pray’ style of photography.  So this isn’t a detailed ‘how to’ post.  And if you consider yourself an accomplished photographer, I always welcome critique cormorantand recommendations.  I’m actually grateful for that critical email message …. well, maybe 😉

I’ve gone through the camera envy stage, and still do.  When I see amazing images on a blog post, I’ll ask the blogger about their camera gear thinking if I use what they’re using my photographs will improve.  Or maybe if I spend more money on camera gear, I’ll capture better images.   We all know this isn’t necessarily true!  We’ve all seen stunning photographs taken with an iPhone and some very poor photos taken with a DSLR.

Therefore, camera choice is personal, and the best camera to have, is the camera that you carry?Pelican

So what camera(s) do I carry?  I predominantly use what’s referred to as a “Bridge” camera.  A bridge camera is more than a Point and Shoot, but not quite a DSLR.  Thus, a bridge between the two.   There’s no lens changing with a bridge camera but there are a lot of customizing options.  I have a whole page dedicated to cameras if you’d like more detailed information.  I realize, whatever camera I use, it’s important to learn how to operate the equipment and know its capabilities and limitations.

shore birds

FAIL – I set camera on ‘program’ mode. Totally wrong setting for moving subject.   ISO 400      F4.0
shutter  1/100   causing a blurry mess         55.7mm (35mm equivalent 310mm)     No cropping

shore birds

Moderate FAIL – ISO 400   F4.0    shutter 1/250    still too slow for moving subject    30.1mm (35mm = 167mm)shore birds different day   ISO 100   F4.5     shutter 1/1000      70.5mm (35mm equivalent 392mm)        No cropping

The built-in zoom on my Panasonic is marketed as a 25-600mm lens which allows me to shoot a wide-angle landscape image one minute and then zoom in on wildlife within roseateseconds.  I love this flexibility, but it does have its drawbacks.  The quality of the photograph will never be on par with a DSLR and the crop factor is limiting.  It’s all about resolution, pixels, and sensor size.

I’ve used this camera for three years and have learned its strengths AND its weaknesses and I know when I zoom in to that 600mm capability, I will lose image quality.  I also know its aperture sweet spot is F4.0 and it’s best not to take the ISO over 400.  There are also times it has trouble focusing,

heron

FAIL – even though the heron is in the center of the photo and  camera was set to a ‘center’ focal point,  camera had trouble focusing on the heron with all the vegetation  😒  It’s the camera, not me!  Panny and I have been at odds lately!    ISO 100    F2.8 (even at F4.0 camera had difficulty focusing)     1/800      107.8mm (592mm)

egret

ISO 100    F5.0    1/1600       108mm (600mm)    Fail on placement of Watermark. Not thrilled with composition!

How close am I to the birds and what lens am I using?  Hmm!  I have no clue on actual distance but I can share lens distance.   Since I’m using a bridge camera, there’s no specific lens to talk about, but I can share an equivalence to a DSLR.  If you note the info on each photo, I’ve shared the mm number.  Since I have a cropped sensor camera, the number in parentheses is the equivalent if using a full frame camera.  If you don’t understand sensor size or why my camera or an iPhone will never capture the image quality of a DSLR, here’s an enlightening article that might clarify.

bird photography

How do I capture birds in motion?  For a Point and Shoot, I set the camera to the “sports” setting.  My little Sony P&S doesn’t offer a sport setting but it does have a “pet” setting that does ok. Then set the camera on “burst” mode.  Multiple shots taken spoonbillat one time is key, but note, point and shoot cameras can be slow to process multiple shots and take a few seconds to recover and be ready to snap again.  I’ll admit, I rarely use the Sony P&S for birds. Too challenging.

For my bridge camera, I prefer to set the camera on “shutter priority”.  I’ve tried using the “sports” setting and “aperture priority”, but wasn’t pleased with the results.  Every camera and user is different.  Because I’ve photographed so many birds with my Panasonic, I have a pretty good handle on how fast my shutter needs to be for specific birds.   For example; cranes and herons in-flight, the shutter can be as low as 1/800 but for ducks, I need at least 1/1600.  And I always have the camera set on “burst” mode, taking at least three shots at a time.whooping crane

Yes, I do delete a lot of photographs, and I’m ok with that.  I also set the camera on continuous focus (AFC) and switch back and forth between a center focus point versus multiple focus points.

cormorant

Cormorant  –  ISO 200    F4     1/800     46.5mm  (35 equivalent 290mm)

If my subject is holding still or I’m shooting landscapes, I’ll alternate between the IA (intelligent auto) and P (program) settings.  I do acknowledge that the camera can often times be smarter than me.  Thus, I never feel badly using the camera in full auto mode.Killdeer

Whenever I’m photographing wildlife, I take a ton of photographs.  Remember, digital photography is free. So why not shoot away!  It’s not uncommon for me to shoot 300 plus photographs in a day, and if the birding is really good, I might shoot as many as 1,000.  Out of those images, I expect to like maybe 25.  By the way, I only shoot that volume of photographs when it comes to wildlife.

sunrise

Camera set on Auto – unprocessed, right out of the camera.  I still can’t hold my camera straight!

sunrise

exact same photo, but OVER processed for fun!

Photo processing – This past January, I finally graduated in the editing department.  I jumped from Picasa to Photoshop Lightroom.  I know some folks think processing/editing is somehow trickery, but processing is necessary for optimal imagery.

It’s no different from film.  The roll of film was processed and pictures were developed from the negatives.  You wouldn’t walk around sharing the negatives.  It’s the same with Lightroom or any other photo editing program.

Some folks like to over process a photograph for dramatic effect.  Most of the time, I try to keep the colors in my photos to as close to what I see, to reality.  However, even Ansel Adams played around with developing/processing.  It’s just another way to let the creative juices flow.

sunrise

image right out of camera – no processing.  I finally activated the “grid lines” on my camera to assist me in achieving a straight horizon.  You’d think by now, I could hold my camera level 😒

bird in-flight

Same image processed; a little cropping & color adjusting. Is the horizon now slanting the other way? Geez!

Lately, I’ve been shooting more purposely.  You know, thinking about composition, accessing settings, and striving for a compelling image.  All I can say to that is the delete black bellied whistling ducksbutton is working in overdrive and the fails far outweigh the wins more than ever before.  Ah, but isn’t that part of the fun and challenge of photography?  Hmm, maybe I’ll return to that ‘point and pray’ method  😄

But the big question is always, “Are we having fun yet?” You bet I am, and my recommendation is whatever camera you’re using, whether you process or not, keep posting.  Don’t let  anyone derail your creativity.

Cheers to sharing pictures – the good, the bad, and all the in-betweens!great blue herons

Tony Northrup’s DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ300K 12.1 Megapixel, 1/2.3-inch Sensor, 4K Video, Splash & Dustproof Body, Leica DC Lens 24X F2.8 Zoom (Black)

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121 thoughts on “Embracing Photography Failure

  1. Very nice post! What you’ve done with your bridge camera is really, really impressive! Time to consider a smaller frame DSLR perhaps? A few basic lenses? I think you would kill it! I really do. Shooting at a much higher ISO really opens up so many more opportunities… one of the biggest differences I’ve found when I upgraded mine a couple of years ago. It’s not that you need to do that to take better pictures because you’re already getting that. It just might open up a few more options for you. Just a thought, and a fun one at that, huh? haha

    • Thank you. Yes, I’ve been wondering if upgrading my camera might open up a little more creative options. I think I’ve about pushed this bridge camera to its limits. And considering the thousands upon thousands of shutter snaps, it’s bound to wear out soon haha! I’ve been eyeing the mirrorless cameras. So many choices now 🙂

  2. Ingrid – I really enjoyed reading this post. My approach to photography is very much the same. I love your description of the ‘point and pray’ method of photography. I think I use that method half the time I am taking pictures. 🙂 I have been blogging for 3 years and even though I have a lot to learn, I too have seen an improvement in my photography skills. I have a Canon Rebel SL1 and I love it.
    I might add, your images are beautiful. You certainly have an eye for beautiful compositions, lighting, and timing. You will only get better as you keep taking pictures.
    -Mar
    I envy your RVing lifestyle. We have a 27 foot travel trailer but due to different circumstances, have not been camping for a couple years now.

  3. I love the post. I appreciate someone who can admit they aren’t great at a certain skill. I too am a “wanna-be” photographer who has only gotten into photography and editing in the last year. I have to admit, I don’t edit pictures for my blog generally but I do edit in Lightroom before printing them for hanging in my house. It’s all about being a life-long learner.

  4. I was laughing a little to myself reading this because whenever I go into process my pictures, it seems that I have no concept of what a straight horizon is either! I’m really loving reading your blog. I’m a very, very novice photographer and blogger and I’m picking up on a lot through your posts.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Five years ago, I shot with a point and shoot set on auto all the time and slowly progressed with my photography. When visiting such beautiful places, it seems like a natural evolution. I still haven’t graduated to a DSLR and not sure I will. I like to keep things fun!

  5. I loved this post Ingrid. What you do with that bridge camera is nothing short of brilliant. Love, love your photography. Thanks for all the tips.

    • Awe, thank you LuAnn. An added note for you, I do not use the lens hood. It could be in my head, but I feel I get better performance and colors without the hood. These bridge cameras are not DSLR’s and thus not all professional recommendations seem to work on a bridge camera. It’s a lot of trial and error and learning the camera’s strengths AND weaknesses – like F4 is it’s sweet spot. For the clearest photos I try to shoot everything at F4 and F2.8 for bokeh. I know you have plenty of experience yourself with the FZ200 considering your European shots were beautiful. One would think you were using a DSLR.

      • Thanks Ingrid. I read an article some years ago that landscape photos are best shot at F4 and that has stuck with me. I have been using my lens hood so I think I will try without given your suggestion. 🙂 And once again, your photography is breathtaking. You really have a talent Ingrid.

  6. Great post! Of course post things exactly how you want – it is your blog! The most important thing about a picture is that it touches your heart with a memory or feeling. Technicalities do not always matter.

    • Ah yes, spot on! I do post a lot of photos that I’m not totally pleased with for technical or artistic reasons but helps tell the story. It’s amazing how many times I’ll use my own blog to retrieve a memory. Thus, my first focus on any blog post is for my aging brain 😉

      • Oh me too! The blog is so easy to search that I can find information quickly! Just one of my favorite things about it. Now I just need to figure out how to turn it into an annual book.

  7. I’ve always liked your photos and look forward to your posts if only to see what you’ve captured.
    I’ve used your camera for a couple years and would describe it as a well built camera that lacks intelligence and support. Canon could make this camera perfection. I agree with most of the negative reviews on Amazon about it. For these reasons, I’ll probly go back to Canon even though they feel cheap now. Try the focus button on the side of the lens when it refuses to focus. Shoot RAW to avoid compression artifacts when you need quality. Check your palm grip pushing buttons when it won’t respond. I’ve lost so many shots with this camera.
    You didn’t mention filters, but I’ll tell you Tiffen is probly hurting you. Try some Marumi filters and you’ll appreciate the improvement. Especially the polarizer.

    • Thanks for the tips. I rarely use filters anymore unless the scenery really dictates, like water glare or extremely bright sky or ND for water movement. The Canon bridge cameras I’ve looked at don’t have threading for filters, but then again, I haven’t looked in a couple of years. If you find the ‘perfect’ camera, be sure and let me know 😉

  8. I am just about the most ignorant person when it comes to cameras (and perhaps photography). I don’t even know why I blog and add photos! But luckily iPhones take nice photos, of course not as nice as the real cameras, but it’ll do for me for now. But 2017 is all about challenging myself so perhaps one of my personal challenges is taking up photography or learning to use a real camera. I will keep you posted…

    You do have some of the nicest photos I’ve seen!

    • I enjoy photography immensly. It’s my thing so I can’t imagine traveling without a camera slung around my neck. If the iPhone works for you, I wouldn’t change equipment. Focus on composition and seeing the things around you through the ‘lens’.

  9. We are all learning. I have myself improved a lot since i took my first picture more than a decade back 🙂

    Glad to have stopped by to see these great shots, to me they are indeed wonderful!

  10. I always enjoy your photos…they are excellent, especially your beautiful bird photographs. I think you would have learned more about your camera and blogging on your own without the mean spirited emailer. He certainly could have given you suggestions in a much nicer way. Excellent post and lots of great advise.

    • Thank you Karen. Whether I’m in the kitchen or in the field with the camera, practice and an open mind seems to bring success. And I never mind a little constructive criticism!

  11. I will edit my photographs; however, at times I like to leave it a little natural/raw/candid. I love blogging and photographing and continue to learn and grow through the process. Happy Weekend – Enjoy 🙂

    • Blogging has indeed lead to personal growth, both in writing and photography. I agree, there are times I like to do very little editing to a photograph because it resonates the mood perfectly right out of the camera. Enjoy your weekend 🙂

  12. Your photography truly is gorgeous, Ingrid. I’m impressed with how much you’ve learned and how much you’ve grown as a photographer in the past several years. You’re inspiring me to learn more about my camera. I focus on composition, subject, and light, and have experimented very little with my camera settings. I think it’s time for me to get busy!

    • Thank you Laurel. I think your photographs are beautiful and you don’t need to change a thing. Each camera has a ‘sweet’ spot and once I figured out Panny’s, I now know what settings to use. There’s still a bunch of bells and whistles in the menu that I have no clue what their purpose is. I’ll keep Googling and practicing 🤗

    • Thanks Sue. With all the shooting I do, I would hope I’ve improved LOL. Ah, that email – he gets a trophy for giving me the push to learn and improve!

      • Ingrid I had an email from a reader a few months ago about a repeated grammar error I was making. initially I was quite take aback but it turned out this former teacher and editor helped me a great deal through ha series of emails. We just need to be open to it. 🙂

  13. I can see some tutoring in the future 🙂 We live and learn and as for you have grown a lot as a photographer, birds or landscape shots are now top notched.
    What happen to your Canon?

    • Tutoring? Hardly – I’m still such a novice. When I see you I’ll explain the whole Canon return 😉 We should have some opportunity in May to get some stunning landscape shots. There’s a photographer I follow on FB that lives in Prescott and his photographs are stunning.

  14. Pretty cool if you enjoy improving your skills (and you have great pictures here now, clearly!) But how weird is the writer of the email?! Don’t like what you see, no need to read… also, I think sometimes there’s more to a picture than the tech involved. It maybe blurry but there’s a moment or a feeling… does everything have to be manipulated to look good? I quite like life as it is!

    • There are lots of photos I’ll post that I’m not necessarily happy with, but they seem to project a mood or a scene perfectly. So I totally agree with you about not every photo needs to be edited. My goal is to challenge myself and put out pleasing and entertaining photographs sharing my surroundings 😎

  15. What a wonderful and informative post about photography. It is a very helpful post as I am still learning DSLR cameras. You take some beautiful pictures and they are so crystal clear and rich in color. You truly do a wonderful job in photography and it is always a pleasure to read your blog and enjoy your pics.
    http://www.freedom2roll.blogspot.com

    • Thank you. I appreciate the thoughtful comment. There sure is a huge learning curve with these cameras. It has taken me a long time to get used to this camera and feel comfortable navigating the menu in the field. Now I know where to find things with ease, but only after a LOT of shooting 🙂

  16. We bought a DSLR several years back and took a local adult education class to learn how to use it. Two of the most important things I took away from that class: 1) once you have a digital camera, it’s free to take pictures, so take tons of them, mess with the settings, play with composition, and just delete the ones you don’t like; 2) As long as you avoid camera shake and blurring, just about anything can be fixed in post processing. We learned the basics of Lightroom and I absolutely love it.

    The biggest issue I have with both my camera and Lightroom is there’s just so much capability that it becomes overwhelming. I need to do more of what you do – just experiment and play with it. I’m just always afraid I’m gonna mess with some setting and not be able to get it back to normal… at which point I’ll have a high priced paperweight.

    In any case, I think your photography is great and it’s good inspiration to keep working and getting better. Nobody is a pro on day 1. It’s nice to hear about your progression over time.

    Also – I can’t take a straight picture to save my life. Thanks for making me realize I’m not the only one. 🙂

    • Yes, the capabilities of the camera and LR can be very overwhelming. I hardly took my camera off auto that first year for fear of navigating the camera’s menu. When I finally started playing around with ‘aperture priority’ and other settings, I’d always follow up with the same photo taken on Auto just in case I really screwed something up.
      And LR is awesome because everything is so easy to “undo” but there’s still a bunch of things I haven’t figured out. I keep watching you tube videos which have been extremely helpful (awesome free internet at this RV park).
      I finally activated the grid lines on my camera to achieve level. It was annoying at first, but now I really like it. Also helps with composition and rule of thirds. Keep practicing and experimenting… oh so fun!

  17. You are so right, the main thing about having a camera is knowing how to use it. I don’t like manuals and cameras have so many different options and settings that it is overwhelming. I admit to not learning how to use my camera properly. Most of the time it is in P and I change some settings depending on the weather. And when I have no idea what to select, I use the “intelligent auto”. I have a small zoom, but the sensor is huge for the compact camera I have, somcropping is always an option to enlarge the subject. I take heaps of photos and delete about 2/3 of them.

    • You can’t go wrong using IA and I still switch routinely between IA and P or S with birds. There’s still a bunch of features my camera offers that I never use and some things I don’t understand. But, I’ve made huge progress over the past few years. A camera with a smaller zoom usually produces better images than a large zoom. Thus, you’ve got good quality images there.

  18. Wonderful post, Ingrid, showing every person and every camera is different, it’s all about our comfort level and the journeys we take. That first email you got – aghast! I’d have been mortified!! I had someone sending me emails at one stretch of time, correcting my grammar on every post. lol I, too, throw away probably 75% of my shots, but when wildlife is moving, even the best pros can miss the shot. I think us beginners are doing A-Ok! Keep up your great work and awesome posts!! Yours are always a treat for me!!!

    • Correcting grammar? No way! I write like I talk, and it isn’t always pretty especially with my Chicago accent 😆 Believe it or not, that email was instrumental in me seeking out information on how to improve my photography. Thus, I’m grateful … that is, after the mortification wore off!
      I’ve captured some nice images lately of birds I can’t identify. I’ll check my book before I post the photos, but I may need your help in identification, or birders will be correcting me 😉

    • The editing will take your photos to a new level. I promise, it’s worth it. I owned Lightroom for a year and a half before I finally sat down to learn it. Thank goodness for cool evenings and no television 😄 Kept us inside in the evenings and after finishing several books, I finally dove in. Oh, how I wish I had done it sooner!

  19. What a great post!
    I’ve always loved your birdy posts, they are always full of birds I don’t get to see too often.
    I would have taken that ‘advice’ comment very badly. I still post crappy photos from my Android phone that don’t enlarge because I don’t want to use all my storage space on WP. I’m a writer, not a photographer… although I’m learning with my Canon Coolpix camera. I don’t post process any pix, not even a water mark. .. Maybe a crop, but that’s it.
    If I were making a living at this, surely I’d have better quality going into the photos/posts. However, until that day… deal with my unprocessed, nonenlargeable pix 😛

    • You have a gift for writing that has eluded me. Thus, I would NEVER refer to myself as a writer which is why I focus so much more on my photographs. Your photos are just fine and I wouldn’t change a thing. Focus on what you’re good at – writing. Isn’t it wonderful that we’re not all good at the same things 😃

  20. Ingrid, I needed this post! These tips will really help me. I have the same problem with not holding the camera straight and often don’t even notice it until after I’ve posted the pic. My problem is when I hold down that burst button it takes me forever to go through all the shots to decided which ones are the best 😀

    I’m using a combination of Picasso and Photoshop Elements but after reading your post I might look into Lightroom. I’ve been wanting to make a change. And you have encouraged me to work harder on how to better use the custom settings. Now if I could only learn to take better pictures of my grandchildren!

    • If you have Elements, I’m not sure you need Lightroom. I just bought Elements a few weeks ago for its creative features. I still haven’t figured it out yet though 🤔 LR is more of a nuts and bolts, and organizing program. I would encourage you to watch some you tube videos on LR and decide if those are tweaks you’d use over Elements. I’m thrilled with LR.
      Although I have purchased books on photography and a simple LR course, there’s so much free and helpful information out there. Email me if I can offer any help/recommendations.
      I still stink at taking pictures of people and food 😄 The challenge never ends!

  21. Interesting read. As an amateur photographer I can relate to a lot of what you wrote.
    My current “always by my side” camera is a LUMIX GX7. I also take a lot of iPhone pictures. Most of what I post on my blog is from the iPhone.
    When I need a camera with more ability I pull out my Sony A700. It’s an old and dear friend.

    • I too am really pleased with my Lumix and it’s always with me. I’ve finally gotten to a point where I can navigate the menu with ease. Photography is a fun hobby that continues to challenge me.

  22. Hello My Friend!
    You know I have the same camera! I remember one evening reading a post about your camera going on sale. I looked at sweet , sweet man and said I need her camera because of its size and because it produces great shots. I have not looked back. I love it! Just the other day he said … that camera has been the best investment and it serves you well. Then he said… when are Al and Ingrid coming back? Soon!!!!!!! I said.
    Great post! Great pictures! Great editing! Miss you!

    • We have free internet here at the RV park and I’ve been watching a ton of you tube videos on editing. I’m still highly confused but getting better all the time 😆 Sometimes it just takes the time commitment to play around and learn. That FZ200 is a great everyday run around camera. I love it but the editing really takes the photograph to the next level.
      We’ve had a fantastic time in Texas but we’re ready to return to AZ. We’ll see you soon 🐌😎

  23. I really enjoyed your post and found it very informative. Your photos are AWESOME!! I have recently been trying to capture “birds-in-flight” and always have it on shutter priority at least 1/500sec or more depending on light and how well I pan. After doing a lot research, I recently purchased my first interchangeable lens camera since shooting Kodachrome many years ago. It is a mirrorless camera (Lumix G85) with a nice bright electronic viewfinder – great for me wearing glasses! Then I bought a 14-140 zoom lens (28-280mm equivalent) which comes with lens stabilization feature. Just today I got a wonderful shot of 7 Canada Geese flying straight towards me just above water – all very sharp – taken at 1/1000 second – I’ll post it sometime with a probable caption of “The Magnificent Seven”
    I also enjoy and value “tuning up” an image with editing software – it’s amazing how you create some zip with a blah image.

    • Congrats on the new camera. Is the Lumix G85 a micro four-thirds? I’ve been eyeing the Panasonic and Olympus mirrorless cameras. I look forward to seeing your photos and hearing about what you think of the new camera.
      I do believe in processing, even if it’s just a little tweak on contrast or clarity. Makes a huge difference… as you said, adds some zip.

      • Yes. The Lumix G85 is a micro four-thirds. After wading through several reviews, I decided to order it sight unseen via local camera store. It came with a kit lens (equiv.24-120mm) , but I just keep the telephoto zoom lens on all the time (28-280) I’m very pleased with the handling, weight and quality of images. The viewfinder is wonderful. Btw – I only shoot JPEG – never feel the need to shoot the memory gobbling RAW and find I can post- process the images to my satisfaction. My other camera is a bridge camera which I love for indoors and people shots – Canon G5X – fast lens at f /1.8-2.8 with a nice zoom range equiv. 24-100mm and 20mps. And its pocketable. That’s pretty much all I need for photo-adventures in addition to my Samsung 5 (16mps)phone camera – which I always have with me – good for zoomless shots and impromptu video clips.

        • I did spend a week shooting RAW but didn’t notice any advantage that would make the memory gobble worth it. So I shoot exclusively in JPEG. I look forward to seeing your photos with the new camera. I know you’ll have fun with it!

  24. Bravo and thanks for sharing your passion. Your photos are so captivating that I made a 2 month reservation for Dec/Jan on Mustang Island. Have always wanted to see that area but the birds…oh my! I cant wait to go and see these beauties. Am not a photographer but I suspect there will be some new camera gear before we get there! Oh, and maybe some new binoc’s!

    • Awesome …. we plan on returning next January so we’ll need to meet up. Should you have any questions or are looking for recommendations on the area, don’t hesitate to email me. A camera and binoculars sounds like the perfect new gear to add.

  25. Wonderful post Ingrid! I’m sure it will be helpful to a lot of us. I too love the stories you put behind your pictures. I’m not a photographer, although I love to play with my camera, I think you have a great eye for composition. I’m hoping to spend a great deal more time with my camera in the future 🙂

    • Thank you Jeanette. I have no doubt you’ll be picking up your camera much more frequently as you set off on your new adventure. The blog and photographs give me purpose to get out and explore more than I might normally. I keep checking in on Brian’s tumblr.

  26. Failed?! Never! You’re travel profolia and lv for birds is dead on! You always seem to view life through the eyes of the others…you’re amazing! I want more ghost shots…increase that ISO 😉

    • Oh C, so very nice to hear from you. You’ve been missed. I do love the challenge of photographing those birds and it does take a lot of failures to capture those successes. So fun and rewarding. Hope you are having a wonderful time along the Alabama coast.

  27. I am not one to criticize any one on their photos. Many times ours are not the best. I have always been in awe of your photos, Ingrid. Even when you think they are not perfect, they are gorgeous! You do such a wonderful job of capturing birds looking their very best. Thanks.

    • Thank you Marsha. We all have different reasons for blogging and sharing photographs. It has always been my goal to share ‘my’ best images and let the photos do most of the story telling since I find writing extremely difficult. I’ve never been good at verbalizing my feelings. The blog has been a fantastic challenge.

  28. I just can’t get over how rude that person was that left those nasty comments. I appreciate every single blog that anyone takes the time to put out there. You never know how much time someone has to work on his blog or their abilities. And actually, those beginners are the ones that really put out the information that the rv community is looking for. I’m glad you stuck it out. I really enjoy the quality pictures you are putting on your blog now. I enjoyed them all, the ones in the beginning too! Thanks for taking the time to do this blog.

    • Yes, blogging does take a fair amount of time and effort that not everyone appreciates. Although I thought the comment was initially rude, it turned out to be enlightening and helped me grow as a photographer and blogger and therefore am grateful he took the time to write. So where are you wintering this year? We’ve had fantastic weather in Texas.

  29. Always…the best camera is the one you have. I graduated from a good cell phone, to a bridge, and now to DSLR. The person behind the camera is still the one who creates the magic. Your photos are always such a pleasure, and I love the things you share.

  30. I always appreciate constructive feedback as long as it is delivered right. Otherwise it can be downright demoralizing. There are a handful of blogs that I follow because their photos inspire me to get better, yours is one of those blogs.

    Thanks for sharing everything you do, successes, failures and everything in between….keep on clicking!

    • Thank you ☺ Over the years, I’ve received my share of unsolicited recommendations or advice and most of the time it has been constructive …. that is after I get over the initial “and who the heck are you” LOL. It’s always rewarding to make progress in a challenging endeavor. I’ve learned a great deal from blogs and vlogs.

  31. Good honest post Ingrid. I do agree partly with your critic, but it is not just about the photos it is about our story also, which many have told me makes a post unique. People DO click on photos to enlarge them if they are interested in you and what you present, so do not be discouraged my friend, what you share is good, and yes even the best photographers will tell you that not all the shots make the blog, especially if, like me you are carrying a heavy L series Canon lens meant for tripod, but because you want that special bird photo moment you are not using a tripod. Most of our birds are moving fast under dark canopy and are difficult at the best of times to photograph. Again, some people, as critical as they may be, do not always appreciate the element of difficulty to capture crisp shots of particular birds, especially the very tine ones we have ‘down under’. I love how you have shared your journey with us, as many of identify, and the experts also, that this is how we all got better at the art, by experience and learning better techniques. Again my ploy is that is is not just the photos, as many are flooding the blogginf and flicker pages with these, but the story also behind the photos. Your GDH pair photo is exceptional Ingrid, well done my friend!

    • Thoughtful insight and I do agree, the story behind the photos is also share worthy. One day, I hope to visit your beautiful country and experience the unique sights and wildlife. My daughter spent a college semester studying in Sydney and she almost didn’t return to the states. She loved it there that much.

      Those GBH’s have been providing me with daily entertainment and hundreds of images. Such a joy!

      • Love to meet you if you should come and visit, we could have a coffee and do some birding. Check out my MeetingAussiebirder page. My wife and I love meeting birders from the states.

        • I will most certainly take you up on your offer to meet up. Just not sure when a trip ‘down under’ will fit 🤔 Daughter and I are long overdo for a gals trip, but she is so focused on her career at the moment that a 3 week get away would be difficult. Perhaps in another year or two …. hopefully before I get too old LOL.

  32. Great post topic Ingrid. Comments from Bulldog Travels well described my thoughts so I won’t repeat here. I used to have a film SLR camera, but never adopted DSLR cameras because I know I will less likely have it with me when I need it anyway. So I’ve been using a point-and-shoot and an iPhone, and they seem to do the job for me.

    • Your photos are great. So good, I thought you were using a DSLR. I love my bridge camera. It weighs less than a pound, don’t need to carry extra lenses, and goes everywhere with me. Whatever works, right!

  33. Phooey to the person who felt the need to take the wind of your sails when you first started! I am currently taking a photography course in the hopes of better understanding his to use my camera to its potential. This was a very timely post for me to read Ingrid as there are days I feel so confused at what settings I should be using. Your journey in your photography encourages me to keep with it!

    • It really helps to get out and shoot almost daily. With that little grandbaby, you have a readily available subject to practice on. If I’m shooting something important or a sight I may not see again, I’ll play with settings but always snap a bunch of photographs in Auto as a backup. It’s a great hobby!

      • Yes, I so wish I could get out daily Ingrid. Still working full time & unfortunately grandbaby lives over 3 hrs away so I don’t see her nearly as often as I would like. Having said that, I shall keep on keeping on & that’s great advice on using auto as a backup!

  34. First of all, Ingrid: great shots again. Well, that, of course, doesn’t mean the headless heron. 😉
    Personally, I don’t do much editing. Lately, I’ve found it necessary in some pictures to remove spots from the sensor. I also try and get the horizon level, and do some perspective correction when the building get so narrow at their tops due to me having had to tilt the camera upwards.

    • Thank you Pit. I find the colors in my photos can look a little flat right out of the camera. Thus a small amount of processing helps deepen the colors. You would not believe how many decapitated bird photos I’ve taken. I’m working my way through my photos and deleting a bunch 😊

  35. Great post – live your bird picks – they are amazing. BTW it was 67 and sunny here in northern Illinois today – bizarre weather for February. Keep snapping those photos and enjoying the Texas Gulf coast. Peace.

    • Thanks Clay. I spent 32 years in northern IL – 67 today and 32 tomorrow LOL. We’ve had amazing weather this year along the coast. This is our fourth visit to the Texas coast and I believe it has been the best weather and birding yet. Love my visits here!

  36. Ingrid, Your very good at teaching and even though video is my thing I just learned some great tips about digital photography. We used to carry hundreds of rolls of 35mm film all over the world worrying about airport X-ray and heat, if we only had an iPhone 7 in 1973…… isn’t technology wonderful!
    thanks for the great post and of course brilliant photos!!

    • Thanks Tim. Have you guys ever used the FZ200 for video? I’ve tried lately and absolutely NOT happy with it. Thus, as much as I’d like to try my hand with video, I don’t have the gear … yet 😉 I hear ya on the rolls of film. When we used to go backpacking and canoeing in the Boundary Waters, I had baggies full with film – different ISO and some slides. Digital is indeed a delight.

      • Denise mostly uses the FZ200 for flower stills and loves it but we have used a tripod to fix the scene and let the action (birds etc) move through the scene and it works fine. Hand held cameras with good image stabilization systems are needed to make really smooth hand held videos, FZ300 or Sony 7RII maybe?
        🙂

        • Yeah, I’m look at some mirrorless but not serious yet. I still need to decide if video is something I’d do. Hubby isn’t into photography so I’m alone in this. I even tried enticing Al with the thought of a drone!

    • Thanks Peter. You think now that you’re settled in that you’ll pick up your camera more? I know you have some amazing birding in that area of Texas.

      • Ingrid — I really don’t know. I was thinking about this a lot during our drive north and south. When I was working I gladly put up with the hours (early and late) and the inconvenience of dragging gear everywhere I went. I’m not all that keen on it now. Having a base here may help. But there are so many things in the works right now that I haven’t time to think about much other than getting through the day on the things I HAVE to get done that day — without making more chores for myself. So, We’ll all find out the answer to that question at the same time I think. 🙂

  37. Thanks for the lesson, Ingrid. I often think that I want to upgrade to a ‘real’ camera, but then realize that I just don’t want to actually carry it around. But, I realize that cameras now are so sophisticated that I can do a much better job of photographing whatever I do, if I will just stop, and take the time to set things up correctly. Why am I always in such a hurry, anyway? 😊

    • Well, you do a pretty darn good job with that phone of yours. So I wouldn’t change a thing, but hey, slowing down might not be a bad idea for reason other than photography 😆

  38. I admire you for taking those people’s comments to heart. But frankly, they are rude. Who in the world would make a comment like that on another person’s blog? You are welcome to post any photo you like no matter how perfect or imperfect. It’s up to the viewer on whether or not they like them. But perhaps you might want to post a photo that meant something to you whether it was edit it or not? But good for you for honing your skills. Your photographs are beautiful. Always have been and always will be. The bird photograpsh you’ve been taking lately have been amazing. So again, I congratulate you on your beautiful photos. I always enjoy looking at them. Keep them coming.

    • Yes, at first I was taken a back by that comment, but later realized it was tantamount to someone telling you you have food stuck in your teeth. Most people won’t say anything. I’m actually glad this guy took the time to enlighten me. It has helped me grow as a photographer. It’s a hobby I’m passionate about, and as much as I enjoy ‘making’ photographs, I’ll always embrace those snapshots. Thus, you can count on the fact I’ll continue sharing plenty of photos. And thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot to me coming from an accomplished photographer 🙂

    • Thank you and although the tone of that email was abrupt, his enlightenment helped me grow as a photographer. It’s very rewarding to go back and look at my older posts and notice the improvement in my images 😊

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