Working with the Conditions You're Given

April 24, 2018  •  1 Comment



Melissa Southern




We all have certain subjects that we like to photograph. With each of those subjects, there are certain conditions that are ideal for photographing them. If you like to shoot macro photographs of flowers, a light overcast sky and no wind are the best conditions. For photographing geysers erupting in Yellowstone National Park, clear skies are better as the eruptions stands out against a blue sky. These are very different conditions for very different subjects. Of course, for some subjects, you can simply move them into a more controlled environment like a studio or workshop.


5J0A38215J0A3821 _MAS4784_MAS4784eruption of Old Faithful Geyser in the Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming


In outdoor photography, whether you are shooting portraits of people or scenic landscapes, one of the toughest lessons to learn is how to accept and work with the conditions you are given rather than complain about them and use them as excuses. 


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Kyle and I just returned from a long-overdue trip to the Cades Cove area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We both love shooting wildflowers and flowing streams. We have been excitedly waiting for this trip for months. Of course, the weather is never exactly what we want. We like to have some atmosphere, some moisture, in the air which lends itself to fog and mist, hence the name "Smokies." No such luck this time. We had bright blue skies and dry air the whole time, though a front did come in as we were packing up camp and heading home.




In light of the weather conditions, we had to modify our photography. We stayed out later when the light got low. We spent time exploring and reacquainting ourselves with area and how it has changed over the years. We even spent a relaxing afternoon in camp with a fire, hot chocolate, a nap, and the haunting music of a fiddle playing in a nearby campsite. We still shot wildflowers; we just had to use our diffusers to soften the light - and sometimes to block the wind! We shot water in Tremont, but we waited until late in the day when the sun was dipping behind the trees and ridges above us. We shot some song birds, turkeys, and bears. We talked and laughed and planned for future trips. In short, we truly enjoyed ourselves. We enjoyed being together in a beautiful place. We enjoyed meeting new people and running into old friends. We had a great time.


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The moral of the story, don't let the weather ruin your day. It may not be the conditions you need for what you intended to shoot, but the conditions you are given may be perfect for something else, even if that is just the chance to be with a true friend.


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Kyle Cook(non-registered)
And you, Melissa, are a true friend!
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