A photo that worked


Photo by Ellen Kolb, taken at Beaver Brook Wayside, Colebrook NH

I always have a camera with me when I’m hiking, but that doesn’t make me a photographer. I’m just a hiker who likes to document my trips. Most of my photographs fall to the Delete button: badly framed, or out-of-focus, or just-didn’t-work.

This one DID work – and it came about by accident. I was at a lovely little roadside area upstate, setting up to photograph a waterfall. I glanced down, and right in front of me was a stunning butterfly on a stunning flower. I changed gears immediately and went to work with the macro setting on my camera. I probably couldn’t have come up with a better shot if I’d spent a week planning it.

This was an accidental success. What I’d like to learn is how to be successful on purpose. I’m a point-and-shoot kind of hiker, but I know better photos aren’t going to happen unless I put some thought into the process. How can I frame the big scenic shots? How can I control depth of field? Will I ever make the leap from pre-set buttons to manual control?

(And what kind of butterfly did I capture, anyway?)