Didn’t We See That Before?


Do you ever get the idea we have seen enough photos of bugs, buds, birds, bees, blooms, and butterflies on blogs to make blogs lose their fascination? Oh yes, guilty myself. I pretty much am bird and bee crazy.


Lens 105mm f2.8 – shot handheld at f8 1/100 ISO 400 – 20 August 2014

Even really good images taken by top professionals, what makes the images any different when posting these common subjects? I just downloaded a really nice e-book for free from Ian Plant, a professional photographer. You too can get Essentials by following this link. Just get it before it is no longer available.

What makes the photos more interesting and different is explained in his book. One suggestion is “wait for the decisive moment”.


Horses are also common, ordinary animals portrayed on blogs. I was thinking about this question when seeing the big equine grazing in the fields. Sure, one can see differently, maybe shooting from different angles or close focussing on horse “parts”. Ian will tell you…

“And then I came to a profound realization: great photography doesn’t come from gear or Photoshop. Rather, it comes from showing people something they haven’t seen before.”


Ian shows images most of us have not seen, yet his animals are ones we have seen often, although not likely in person just in photos. He has a creative way to portray them. You will see wonderful images with the explanation why they are well done when you get his e-book.

Not everyone can go to these places, often inaccessible to many, but his explanations allow you to get more creative with more commonly found animals. I am not sure how I could have gotten this buck to do something interesting though, although I do follow his suggestion to focus on the eyes – even getting catch light. I certainly did not want this majestic creature to charge me for a really cool photo!


On my last post, I thought I showed birds in different perspectives than usually seen, I am just not sure how to show that which has not been seen before? It really takes patience to wait it out, to see unusual behaviors. This is one to ponder. Maybe it is a bit like the image below where I chose not to focus on the horses, add some mood, and just see them through the hedgerow. He suggests, “change the perspective” which I do often with birds.


Ian’s photos are inspiring and his suggestions are very important to know. Like his beginning down the path of photographing, we all have to find that inspiration which takes the images we shoot just a bit further. If we are seeing the same bugs, buds, birds, blooms, bees and butterflies on blogs, maybe they need just a little something extra? It is the same too rehashing information over and over. Download his e-book, you might read something to inspire you.

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23 Responses to Didn’t We See That Before?

  1. Mike Powell says:

    I downloaded the book and see that it has lots of suggestions, some new and some familiar. It’s nice when we have the luxury of taking our time to compose a shot or waiting for the optimal moment, but much of the time we shoot what we can get. Sure, it may not make for prize-winning shots, but most of us don’t set the bar that high when deciding to post an image. Oh, don’t get me wrong–I aspire to get those unique shots, but I figure that one way to be ready when those opportunities come along is to shoot a lot and develop my instincts and reflexes and knowledge of my subjects.

    • donna213 says:

      Oh, I so agree. Nature photography so often happens at a split second’s notice and having everything set, steady and ready for the one perfect moment is too many things to keep straight for non-professionals like myself. It helps when you have a magazine sending you to these prime locations for weeks and footing the bill for everything too. Time is a photographer’s friend. It is also true bloggers do not necessarily post high quality images every post. One reason is keeping the best for sale since if it is posted it means it is already unsuitable to be published in some cases. I myself don’t post the best in a set of images. I also agree on knowledge of subjects and behaviors. I might be fine with insects, birds and horses, but all the game he showed, no way. I would not have a clue what a polar bear will do in the wild. His fighting bears was quite a capture, but he likely knew that would happen from his experiences with bears. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Debra says:

    These are lovely horses. I have had SO much fun this year learning how to use my camera. As I learn more and more I realize that there is even more I can do. It is pretty exciting. I have to agree with Mike. I can set things up but with nature subjects so much is about serendipity and pure luck. And timing. If only I could re-do all those amazing shots I -just- missed … hahaha

    • donna213 says:

      I feel I am past the luck stage for the most part. It is like Mike said about knowing your subject. Once you know where and when to look for them, it shortens the time and lessens the need for luck. That is what I learned from birding. No guessing anymore and hardly ever getting skunked on an outing. Insects are the same way. They follow weather, time of year and daylight patterns not to mention visiting certain plants. Like you, I have missed some really great opportunities, but it is always my fault. I make a small mistake and the subject takes off on me. Funny because over time I learned how to avoid scaring them, but every so often I forget in my excitement.

  3. Thanks Donna. I downloaded it. Are you all snowed in?

    • donna213 says:

      No, we are not snowed in. The worst of it was south of here. You will enjoy his photography. I wish I could have his job, visiting all those wonderful locations.

  4. I am going to download his book as well. It sounds excellent.
    I have learned quite a bit from you since I started following your blog in the last year, and I never tire of your photos or your instruction whether that be information on photography or gardening. I have also learned quite a bit just studying your photos as far as composition, perspective, etc. Thanks for the information you share and continue to share. You are an inspiration to me

    • donna213 says:

      I have taken classes from some pros and Ian has some of the same info in his short e-book. He does have e-books for sale as well. I have not purchased them, but his one on light is likely very good. Thank you for your very kind words Sue, I really appreciate that.

  5. Beautiful, thoughtful photos! You share many valuable insights. Thanks for passing on the link, too!

  6. My Heartsong says:

    Great ideas-I read about “the decisive moment” in articles by Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004)

  7. My Heartsong says:

    By the way, I really like your last photo.

  8. Great photos, and thanks for the tip about the book. I have downloaded it.

  9. Emily Scott says:

    I do like your horses through the hedge. And the first picture, which is very dreamlike.

  10. Thank you Donna for the inspiration, ideas and link to Ian and his free ebook which I downloaded. I am certainly looking for ways to kick it up a notch…and I love to learn so this is perfect! And I love that last shot….

  11. Lyle Krahn says:

    That buck is beautiful – love it.

    The point you raise is a good one. Seeing that different perspective and getting the shot with limited opportunity is often what keeps me going. When the anticipation actually works out, I usually am in such shock I don’t believe it. Occasionally I envision a shot and focus on getting that perspective and ignore the rest. All I know for sure is that it is a thrill when things work out.

    • donna213 says:

      I feel as you do when everything goes right. It usually means I was in the right lighting, at the right place and time, but sometimes not always ready with the right camera settings. When all are in sync, like you I cannot believe it. I have a few apps that help, like Sun Seeker for sun orientation where ever I am in the world – GPS and cardinal directions too. My birding app from Cornell brings birds in with calls. There are apps for animal behavior and where to find them. App maps for directions and locations in the state parks. But mostly, apps have no use locally since I am in those places all the time. They just help when I am out of the state or country. Like you, driving around to find new spots is always the best. I just love your photos, they look so effortless and I know the work you must go through to get them. Another photographer I think is amazing is Marco from http://marcopesaresi.com. I think you are familiar with him too. He has not posted in a long while though.

      • Lyle Krahn says:

        Yes I really like Marco’s photos but it has been a while for him.

        The funny thing about the work is that sometimes it means a long drought between photos and other times opportunities just happen quickly.

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