Well, my friend Kim and I have had another trip to the Desert Photo Retreat in Southern Arizona. I blogged about it after last year’s trip. Again we managed to hit the one unseasonably warm weekend in March, but other than that the trip was delightful.
I learned so much.
|He seemed surprised to see us|
First, emotion. I’ve been thinking on and off about the challenge of conveying emotion in images of landscapes and of details in the natural world. It can be done but is a rather subtle thing. Shooting at the Retreat gave me a chance to approach the challenge with critters instead. We perceive emotion in faces naturally, including those of animals.
|Thirsty house finch|
During the always fascinating Out of Chicago Live conference this month, one presentation addressed the rewards of photographing common things that are often overlooked. The presenter used dandelions as an example. I decided, while shooting from the Retreat’s blinds, not to overlook common things like squirrels and house finches. Once I took some time to look at the “dandelions, there was so much to see.
|Striped skunk and blooming brittlebush|
Finally, I got out of my comfort zone, learning to use my new Pluto trigger for camera trapping. Thank goodness for Ron, who’s very experienced and a great troubleshooter. His suggestion about a setting buried deep in my camera’s menu fixed a problem so the second night shooting could be successful. Kim helped me to remember that what I learned that first night is more important than the shots I might have missed. Speaking of Kim, because of all the equipment that she brought along, we managed to set up three stations on the second night and had some nice shots.
I’m inspired to start working on this project in my own back yard, where we have quite a few mammals running around at night; fox, bobcat, skunk, racoon, javalina, and the occasional mountain lion. Stay tuned.
We’ve booked three nights for next year to give us an even better chance at (ahem) education.
More favorites are in the Spring 2022 Gallery on the website.