There is one immutable truth about nature photography – you can’t control nature! You can’t make the sun shine or the rain stop or keep the wind from blowing. Yes, you can react (modify the light or block the wind or cover your camera), but you can’t tell nature what to do.
I was photographing out in the Great Trinity Forest where a big field of evening primrose were blooming near a train trestle. I really wanted to get a train going by and I know one was coming. All good, right? Yes, except for one thing – the incessant spring Texas wind whipping across the landscape like an invisible broom, sweeping my precious flowers in and out of my frame.
What to do?
Flash? Not a great option for lots of reasons. Block the wind? I would have needed to build a wall and that was not happening. Focus on the train and let the flowers be abstract? That would work, but I wasn’t feeling it. I wanted the front flowers sharp.
My only hope was shutter speed. Not just fast shutter speed, but super-fast, ultra super-hero style shutter speed. Like 1/6400 second. I would have no depth of field, but I could at least have a chance at getting a sharp image of the flower.
I set up my tripod, composed the image, picked a point on my main flower, focused there as best I could, waited as the train approached, held down my cable release and fired away when the train was where I wanted it to be.
Low and behold, it worked! And a nice bonus is that I really love the shallow depth of field, too.
Pink Evening Primrose and railroad cars on trestle over Trinity River, Great Trinity Forest, Dallas, Texas, USA. Canon 1DX. 26mm. ISO 640. f/3.2 @ 1/6400 sec.