Photo Therapy

For years I’ve been fond of saying that photography is my anti-drug. When the world is too much with me, I seek solace in nature, which I am fortunate to find in my own backyard. Today I spent about three hours trying to photograph some of the many hummingbirds enjoying the post rain goodness of our eucalyptus tree flowers. The flowers themselves are too high up for me to get good shots, even with the 70-200 zoom with 1.7x teleconverter, but the hummingbirds rest on the lower branches of nearby trees, so I looked for the best light and caught what I could. Still, I struggled to capture the birds in motion, so I dropped the shutter speed from 1/1000 to 1/250.  What? I tried to freeze action with a slower shutter speed? Yes, because that’s the camera’s sync speed for flash, and the flash fires far faster than 1/1000, freezing the action while providing enough light for a good exposure.

Natural morning light. It required dozens of captures to get one where the light hit those ruby patches just right.

Natural morning light and a stationary subject. It required dozens of captures to get one where the light hit those ruby patches just right. Nikon D7000, 70-200 f/2.8, TC17eII

This was the closest I came to an action shot before I lowered my shutter speed and added flash.

This was the closest I came to an action shot before I lowered my shutter speed and added flash.  Nikon D7000, 70-200 f/2.8, TC17eII

I fired off about 300 frames over a couple of hours before I switched to flash. This was the first frame with flash. Meanwhile, the sky had gone overcast, but you have to admit, it's a pretty good shot of the bird.

I fired off about 300 frames over a couple of hours before I switched to flash. This was the first frame with flash. Meanwhile, the sky had gone overcast, but you have to admit, it’s a pretty good shot of the bird, and really captures the colors. Nikon D7000, 70-200 f/2.8, TC17eII

As therapeutic as I find outdoor nature photography, I still love portraiture of my loved ones. My son is visiting, and we went for a walk today. Somehow, we found ourselves grabbing a beer at the Ojai Beverage Company. As he studied the menu, I couldn't resist the light.

As therapeutic as I find outdoor nature photography, I love portraiture of my family even more. My son is visiting, and we went for a walk today. Somehow, we found ourselves grabbing a beer at the Ojai Beverage Company. As he studied the menu, I couldn’t resist the light. Nikon D7000 with 105 f/2.8.

As I worked on these photos, a Nick Cave lyric played in my head: “I was just a boy when I sat down to watch the news on TV. I saw some ordinary slaughter, I saw some routine atrocity. My father said don’t look away, you got to be strong, you got to be bold now. He said that in the end it is beauty that is going to save the world now.” I think so. I hope so.

1 Comment

Filed under Camera Gear, Camera Settings, Nature Photography, Portraiture

One response to “Photo Therapy

  1. Diana Kelly

    Beautiful work and beautiful thoughts, Dean.

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