Close, but no cigar

Last week I listed 8 things I learned on the Jackson Hole trip. Apparently I didn’t learn them well enough. Last night, I went to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to work on the Flickr project group’s current “nature” theme, and just before sunset I was overwhelmed by the photographic choices available to me – so I broke some of last week’s rules. What I ended up with were pictures that I really like, but that have major flaws. I keep looking at the photos and wishing I had that hour back (with a better lens this time.)

The first item I didn’t learn well enough is: the subject isn’t sharp, don’t bother sharing the photo. The goslings just aren’t sharp enough here. One problem that I’m trying to overcome is that I get I’m not careful enough on time-sensitive shots – I need to take that extra 2-3 seconds and really nail the focus. But you see, I’m sharing this anyway!

Mother Goose and Goslings

Goose and goslings going for a late night swim

The second item is: leave the far-away shots to people with bigger lenses. I maxed out my 250mm zoom, and it shows in the slightly blurry outline of the subject(s) when the photo is at full size. I need to go up a lens size (and down $500) to really get these shots right… but that doesn’t seem to keep me from trying.

Great Blue Herons

Great Blue Herons, swapping nest duties

One more lesson that I didn’t document last week (because I had heard it in the past) was: focus on the eyes. I didn’t really break that rule last night, but I would be much happier with this shot if I could have gotten the guy to look at me (which wasn’t possible because I was shooting through reeds).



I’ll probably go back out again this weekend to spend some more time on this nature theme. No doubt I’ll get waylaid by those enticing far-off shots… I’ll just tell myself I’m practicing for when I get that bigger lens.



  1. Question you should ask yourself – do you like these shots? Regardless of all the advice and tips you receive – you’re the one you ultimately need to please. I love the backlit herons – slightly fuzzy outline or not!!

    • That’s the thing – I like them well enough, but I often think “if I had just done this or that”. I never realized I could be such a perfectionist! I went back to the Lab last night and tried the heron shot again, and was just planning to write a quick post on it…

  2. Your frog had caught my eye in your Flickr feed. 🙂 A little tough to make a frog look at you, unless you’re good at imitating a frog sound.

    Your goose shot, yes, it has shortcomings. But the reflection and water ripples are nice. Just getting it all to come together at once–yes I know–easier said than done sometimes. But keep at it! We just have to listen to ourselves. Again, easier said than done. 🙂


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