Natural Bridge

Allow my lesson to be your lesson, if you don’t mind me lecturing you about photography.  I recently bought a new camera.  I enjoy taking pictures and under no circumstances do I consider myself a photographer.  I am a guy with a camera.  I take pictures because I see some pretty cool things from time to time.  Today, for instance, while hiking in a local state park I saw a buck.  How do I know it was a buck?  Because the male deer are in velvet now.  That however isn’t the lesson I intend on lecturing about.

I have a friend who is very dear to me, and whose privacy I intend on respecting so I shan’t say her name.  She is a professional photographer and when I was chatting with her about the kind of camera I wanted to buy she stressed to me the importance of having the right lens.  You mean you can put different lenses on those things?  Anyway, I decided to hook myself up for the summer hiking season and bought the camera along with a couple of lenses and a nice pack so I can carry them with me into the forest.

Great plan, I thought.

The next two pictures are an illustration of the difference in each lens’ capabilities.


This is my telephoto zoom lens pulled back as far as it will go.


This is my 18-55 lens pulled back as far as it will go.

What is the lesson here?  Glad you asked, because I went to an obscure Wisconsin park called Natural Bridge.  You all know what a natural bridge is.  You’ve been to them or seen pictures of them.  They are rock formations where erosion has hollowed out the rock beneath creating a natural bridge.  They are kind of cool to find and beautiful to see under the right conditions.  Of course the right conditions mean nothing if you don’t have the proper gear to capture that moment.

My dad and I went to the park last Saturday.  I try to spend a couple Saturdays a month with my folks and this one had my dad and I traveling around the countryside looking to take pictures of stuff.  We decided to go to Natural Bridge because my dad wanted to try out his new camera and I wanted to work some more with mine.

My dad is old school — from film day when each one of those exposures counted.  So he points his camera, takes one picture and hopes it turns out.  He doesn’t understand that the digital camera he has can hold about a thousand pictures and they don’t cost anything to view on his television.  He’s a fairly intelligent man so I’m certain that after he misses a few he’ll get it and take more shots.

The lesson I learned however is because of my own laziness.  When we got to the park I decided that I would leave my backpack in the car because, after all, I only have one extra lens.  In this case the 18-55 was left behind and I sauntered into the forest with my big telephoto lens proudly protruding for all to see.  When we got to the Natural Bridge I began taking pictures and immediately realized the mistake I had made.  I couldn’t pullback far enough from the bridge to get a full shot.  Every shot is close.  Too close.  So from now on the pack goes on my back where it belongs and I hope not to miss a shot because of my own laziness.





Oh well…Natural Bridge is a very pretty park with some pretty vistas.

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June 2008
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