OP – The Blog

September 2nd, 2010

Taking Chances

Posted By Kevin Schafer

One of the great gifts of digital photography has been its encouragement of experimentation. With film, I would shoot a roll of film of a low-percentage shot (think wind-blown flowers) and then quit – just to save film. It was a total crap shoot whether you actually got something or not. Now, by contrast, you can shoot all day on a 16 gb card: and check your work along the way.

I haven’t made up my mind about this shot yet – and that’s just fine. I took it on a sunny arctic mid-day when there simply weren’t any other decent pictures to be made – too bright, too windy, too whatever. The kind of day, in fact,  when I should probably have put the camera down and literally stopped to smell the flowers. Fair enough…but I couldn’t resist these dancing harebells. So, I braced the camera on a rock and shot a pile of them at various slow speeds, quite literally painting with color. Most of the resulting images are junk – and maybe this one is, too – but it was a fun, spontaneous process. And for that, and for a picture I could have easily walked past, I am grateful.

Nikon D3, 70-200mm lens  1/8 sec


Please leave a comment

  1. Chris vanPopta Says:

    Dude! That’s a Monet!!
    I think it’s brilliant. I love it!

    Nice work

  2. Kevin Schafer Says:

    Chris, Glad you like it. I’m still making up my mind! Seriously, things like this are an unexpected gift. The message : take chances, make discoveries, have fun. Kevin.

  3. Stephen Says:

    Great idea and great capture–and, great lesson–I know too that I need to remember there is always something to shoot and high noon is “good” light too–was taught that years ago but still forget. and, if the wind isn’t blowing there’s always motion blur, and, ……..

  4. Richard Says:

    I made my mind up about this image the instant I saw it…Ernst Haas would approve. I like it a great deal because it captures the colors and the movement of the wind in the wilderness. It is life, not “still life”, which is all too uncommon in photography. Well done!

  5. Kevin Schafer Says:

    Stephen – thanks for the comment. Yup, when all else fails, try something nutty… Kevin

  6. Kevin Schafer Says:

    Richard – Seriously, what really sobers me up is how close I came to deleting the whole bunch! Pays to take a chance – and then actually take a look! Thanks for the comment. Kevin

  7. Tracy Says:

    Beautiful!!!! So happy you didn’t delete it.

  8. Kevin Schafer Says:

    Thanks Tracy. It’s just a reminder not to be too hasty with the delete button!

  9. Jbrel Says:

    you’re an artist. i like it.

  10. Kevin Schafer Says:

    Thanks Jbrel. Hard to take credit for being an artist just for leaving the shutter open! But I took the chance, and – happily – recognized the results.

  11. John Schickler Says:

    I think Dewitt Jones and the late Galen Rowell would approve of this shot. How often have I read an article by one of these great photographer/philosophers and come away saying “Take a Chance”. The late artist, Bob Ross, would call this a “happy accident”.

  12. Kevin Schafer Says:


    A happy accident indeed! And a reminder to us all to stretch a little.. Thanks for commenting. Kevin

  13. Aditi Says:

    I do this sometimes :) Last time I shot this series of flowers and trees from a moving car for a 1 sec exposure. i loved the way the colors mixed. Not everyones cup of tea. Needless to say, like the pic above.

  14. Kevin Schafer Says:

    Aditi – Interesting idea – I would guess your car-photo images were pretty interesting! No, not everybody’s cup of tea – but who cares? Have fun, be creative…take chances. Thanks for commenting. Kevin

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