Struggling to Find a Subject

It’s summer, the sky is mostly clear, it is really hot out, and I am struggling to find subjects to go photograph. I still go out hiking in the heat of the late afternoon even though it is hot and try to find something to shoot, but I struggle to find anything that I feel like shooting.

The grass at the wildlife refuge is long and golden and would sway if there was a breeze. I have walked around trying to figure out what to do with the long grass and have nothing to report. There are still a few wildflowers out and there is a patch of pink wildflowers that I have been working on one of the trails in the back of the Doeskin Ranch unit of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. I have come back to these pink wildflowers several days now, tried to figure out how to shoot them, gone home and looked at my photos with disappointment, and returned to try again. The wildflowers kind of mound, and my idea is a mound of flowers in focus with other mounds fading off into the distance. The main problem I have is that they are growing on very rocky ground and the rocks expose as brightly as the flowers and ruin the effect.

The below photo is my best result. I waited until the sun was just on the horizon and was only hitting the flower tops and not the rocky ground beneath. I also have to get the camera at the right elevation so that you could see the flowers behind the main bunch. And I had to be able to shoot without the sun washing out my photo. I still had to do a lot of work to knock down the rocks in Lightroom. What do you think?

Wildflowers at Doeskin Ranch Unit or Balcones Canyonlands NWR

The next day, I figured that I needed to change things up and went to the Warbler Vista section of the refuge, several miles away, to hike and see what I could find. The trails at this unit are generally much more shaded by trees and I went at midday and walked around for a couple of hours. I only took my camera out to shoot a couple of times, including once when I saw a flower under a tree that was getting its own beam of sunlight.

I worked on this flower for ten or fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to shoot it. When I got real close with a wide angle, I noticed that the juniper in the background seemed to fanned out from a single point behind the flower and I liked this effect. I got closer and farther away from the flower; got down low and up high trying to get it just right against the tree. Below is what I think is my best shot.

Wildflowers at Warbler Vista Unit of Balcones Canyonlands NWR

The image is shot ultra-wide with the camera on the ground and inches away from the flower in order to exaggerate the perspective between the flowers and the tree in the background. And I did work this quite a bit in Lightroom to bring up the pink flowers and bring down the yellowish ground clutter.

These are my results of trying to find something to photograph in the hot, dry summer at the refuge near to my town. Not too exciting, but it is nice to get out and shoot.

18 thoughts on “Struggling to Find a Subject

  1. I say that your hard work paid off in both photos! Can’t pick a favorite. Love the glow on the flowers in your first photo and the tree in the background makes the wildflowers stand out perfectly in your second one.
    Glad you made yoruself go out and shoot even if you werent’ quite sure of what to shoot, you did well. Keep it up, as long as its a camera that you keep shooting with. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the nice comments. I was trying to think of some other nearby places I could go hiking without driving for hours. This is the best place, but I kind of feel like I have squeezed what I can from it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When the ideas run out, I find it best to change my outlook.
    Macro lens maybe? Bugs. I don’t even need to go past my pathetic garden to find those. Or maybe something architectural, technological or even industrial? Things that produce lots of smoke or steam can be interesting. Just don’t get too close with that macro lens. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Stuck with a fixed 50mm? Well, you can always tape a jeweler’s loupe to your phone camera.
        BTW, I really like that last shot. During a desert run about a week back, I was noticing the flowers. But catching them is like catching the light from a sunset.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I think the only extension tubes I have date back to the days of film. I recall the pain of getting rolls of Fuji Velvia and Provia developed (good skin-tones). But I get it. Having shifted to the more compact, I’ll hit the mountains with a 16mm fixed, 0.75 converter and a polarizer on an APS C. Looks like even my close-ups are @ 28mm.
            (replace the “[DOT]”)

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Sometimes why worry about the flowers in the background? The one front and center is representative of the scene. I don’t often use s graduated filter to kncok down the sky, but I will pull it out occasionally and it’s effective for what I need. I too go out somedays, many days, without a clear subject in mind. The zen of photography. Something cathces your eye and exercise is always good. Enjoy. jerry

    Liked by 1 person

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