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I've come to the realization, no matter how much I avoid pigeonholing myself, that I'm a nature photographer. Nature is the gallery with the most pictures. Nature is the one true place I find peace. I'm a nature photographer. I'm embracing that.
It doesn't mean I'll stop photographing battlefields or detailed architecture or all those other things that cross my path. It just means that I'll spend more time in the bug and butterfly infested world fighting Lyme disease and West Nile virus and chiggers and tick removal and all the fun stuff that comes with being on a trail.
I've also come to the realization that nature photography covers a myriad of subjects due to our anal insistence of narrowing everything down to its finest detail. Nature covers landscapes and waterscapes and flora and insects and wildlife and I'm going to stop with the detail. But to capture all these beautiful things, one must hike.
I spent yesterday hiking the trails of the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The area is divided into an abundance of trails following the bay and the wetlands, the woods and fields. I took in most of the land and came out of it with a blister on the ball of my left foot (time for a new pair of Doc Martens and thicker socks) and the need to take allergy meds last night. But that's okay. The sacrifice is worth the reward.
Oh yeah, and I also grabbed a bunch of great shots!
Didn't have much luck with wildlife, though. Not that I didn't meet it; it just spotted me before I spotted it. I saw a lovely osprey fly away. A stunning heron pull up from the marsh and take off. Thing is, once those wings open up, by the time I'm focused, they're gone. I saw a heron fly over the same marsh, but too far in the sky for my lens to reach for a decent photo. And there were several bald eagles soaring over the place (again, too far away for my lens to reach).
In fact, the lens reach is becoming a real problem. Geese in the water too far away from shore; gulls in the water crowded on the sandbar of a small island. Turtles floating in the water, too far out for a detailed image. I really thought I was covered with a zoom reach of 300mm. Guess not.
So while I continue this journey into nature, I've also realized that I need a few things.
50-500 zoom lens (yes, very important) - $1,500
Doc Martens (mine are 10 years old) - $120
Thick Socks (not just for winter warmth anymore) - $10
Soon enough, I guess. But for now, a day out in nature - Priceless.