Since I became a father last year, my style of photography has changed. Previously, I would mainly focus on birds and mammals and would spend hours and hours in a small hide. If the subject did not show up, or the photos were not up to standard, I would just return the next morning and try again. Time for photography is now (mostly) limited to a single morning each week. And because I don’t like to return home empty-carded, I won’t risk sitting in a hide, waiting for a subject that might never show up. Instead, I have switched focus to subjects that are always there: landscapes and abstracts. Only the light might fail, but that’ll always be an uncontrollabe variable.

Where I like the tension and action of bird and mammal photography, I also appreciate the slow process of landscape and abstract photography. One thing I’m still learning is being meticulous. With birds and mammals, just set the long lens to its widest aperture and the ISO high enough, and then point and shoot when the subject’s in view. With landscapes, I have to meticulously go through a whole checklist:

1. choose composition
2. use bubble level for straight horizon
3. set lens on manual focus
4. set lens on hyperfocal distance
5. choose correct aperture
6. check meter reading and adjust shutter speed
7. screw on filter holder
8. choose correct filter and adjust position
9. use mirror lock-up or liveview
10. use remote release
11. wait patiently for right light
12. repeat proces

Just as an example of what might go wrong: for the image above, I stood in the middle of a fen in my Wellingtons. My camera bag was on the dry shore, some 50 meters away. I had everyting in place and all settings right. However, the remote release (10) was in the camera bag. So wade to bag, take remote and go back to camera. The best light had already gone (11). I used an ND filter for a shutterspeed of several minutes. My watch and telephone were at home and the tripod was at its highest position. Very difficult to see on the upper lcd how many seconds have passed after having pressed the shutter. In the first few shots, the lcd showed a blurry background. Damn, forgot adjusting hyperfocal distance after zooming to another focal lenght (4). Finally home, I had to fight to get the horizon straight in Photoshop, since the bubble level never left my camera bag (2). But, I am getting better at this with each try…

Moorland Fen; Canon 5D Mark II w. 17-40/4L; 83s at F16 and ISO200; ND grad and ND filter, remote release and tripod


  • Wat herkenbaar (zowel de geringe tijd als iets dat nog in je rugzak ligt). Je hebt er toch nog wel iets van weten te maken. Ik vind de foto heel sterk als een stukje van boven + onder eraf gaat; maar dat is een kwestie van smaak.

  • Hoi Marijn,

    Wat een heerlijk herkenbaar verhaal. Van de 12 punten vergeet ik er meestal ook wel 3 of 4. En ook herkenbaar is de afwisseling; natuurfotografie vind ik prachtig maar soms kom je met niets thuis; voor de afwisseling fotografeer ik voetbal en dan heb je gegarandeerd 1,5 uur actie; best wel eens lekker.

    Oh ja, fraaie foto!


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