Missed Photo Opportunities

As a lifelong photographer I have been aware of a disheartening fact for quite a few years – there are many times when I will see a great photo opportunity and will not be able to take the photo.

Sometimes this is due to the location preventing me from getting access, sometimes there is too much traffic to be able to safely get off the road, sometimes it’s time pressure which keeps me from being able to take the time to get the photo, sometimes I have a limited set of equipment with me and – naturally – the lens I need for the photo is not in my equipment bag… There are many, many reasons for missing these photos, and all of them are reasons for regrets and reflections and lessons learned.

Sometimes these are photos that I may be able to take later; other times they are once in a lifetime photos. But it’s usually a bummer to realize that yet another photo has been passed by, adding yet another to my lifelong list of missed photo opportunities.

This evening I was on my way home from photographing life groups for our church, and from the top of an overpass I saw a beautiful sunset directly over a double set of railroad tracks. I did a u-turn as soon as it was legal to do so, went over the overpass to the next u-turn spot, and then back to the top of the overpass. There was a safe place to pull off to the side, but by then the sun was gone…

I’ll try to take that photo over the next couple of nights, and will post it here if I get to take it. But in the meantime there is another photo on my way too long list of missed photos.

What missed photo opportunities are on your list? Were there any that were once in a lifetime photos that are now gone forever?


Spring Photo Walk


This Spring will mark the beginning of our 12th year leading photo walks at a local Nature Conservancy wetlands wildlife preserve. Wow, how time flies.

We started out with two photo walk leaders and did the walks every-other month. The walks now have four leaders and several on-call helpers and walks are scheduled every month, with alternating leaders. Our largest group was 64 people, for which we had three leaders and four helpers. That was the largest organized walk this preserve has ever had.

I was just reading some of the feedback from our first walks at this location, and the emails brought back fond memories. Many of our early attendees were volunteers and staff members at the preserve. That has slowly changed to attendees being mostly the public, with about 1/2 of the attendees enjoying their first visit to the preserve. The fact that these walks attract so many new visitors to the preserve is one of our main motivations for doing these specific photo walks. Our photo walks at this location have also attracted reporters from local newspapers and regional magazines. It’s fun reading some of these stories after doing so many of these.

Topics we include in the walks range from photographing waterfowl to wildflowers, why understanding animal behavior enhances photo opportunities, photography equipment questions and demonstrations, to weather preferences for different types of photos.

Here are a few photos from Spring photo walks at the preserve.

Willow catkin

Northern shovelers

Black Phoebe

Blackberry flower buds

Birth of a poppy bloom