Nature photographers don’t operate in a studio (usually). We photograph outside, and we have to deal with sun and clouds and rain and dew and all manner of natural elements that make the process “a bit trickier”.

I think the worst element is wind. Wind is a pain in the arse for every outdoor photographer. Wind makes things blurry and out of focus and sometimes even controls what and how we shoot. If I was a Wiccan, I could try using using magic spells to stop the wind, I suppose, but I am not. So I just have to deal with the wind and make the image work.

Take this example from the Blackland prairie at the Texas Nature Conservancy’s beautiful Clymer Meadow Preserve. After a long hike into the prairie, I found this little cluster of coneflowers and maneuvered to find a spot where the flowers and stems¬†were reasonably separated from each other and not overlapping. I hate overlapping elements and usually try to avoid them¬†when I can find a way to do so. (It is just bad feng shui!)

But the wind was my enemy. The open prairie brought a soft and persistent breeze that occasionally ebbed and flowed, but never stopped. It pushed those coneflowers back and forth and never giving me the exact composition I wanted.

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I waited and waited for the wind to die down, with my camera on a tripod, the composition and focus fixed and ready to go, and a relatively fast shutter speed. Sometimes the wind even blew the flowers out of the frame.

I knew it would eventually die down and when it did, I finally got an image I like.  I would have preferred that the left two flowers did not overlap at all, but I am still happy with the image. Under the circumstances, it was the best I could get.*

Purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia DC), Blackland Prairie at Clymer Meadow Preserve, Texas Nature Conservancy, Greenville, Texas, USA.

Purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia DC), Blackland Prairie at Clymer Meadow Preserve, Texas Nature Conservancy, Greenville, Texas, USA. Canon 1Ds III. 700mm. ISO 640. f/5.6 @ 1/400 second. EV +1 ‚Öď. ¬†I used a long lens to help give me a very soft background.

*There are some “tricks” you can use sometimes out in the field, such as using a little stand and a “Plamp” (i.e. plant clamp) to hold a flower in place or nudge it into a better position. But I did not have one with me, so that was not an option.¬†