How many times have we talked here about the choices we make during editing, about reviewing and re-editing older images, about planning months or years to get that one image that we can’t get out of our mind?  Many!

Why? Because photography and chasing those illusive photos that make you stop and go “Wow!”, is a process. It’s a process that takes both time and patience.


The depth of field is probably too shallow; they’re too separated from their surroundings.

I was reminded of this a few weeks back when I had an image in my head that involved the characters from Mouse Guard embarking on a journey in a boat. This photo set up required an hours drive out of town, a 1 1/2 mile hike to the top of a waterfall and a little luck on the lighting. (Have I mentioned that for me toy photography is often an excuse to go adventuring?) The night before I set up my figures in their required pose and the next day I packed them carefully into my backpack, grabbed my camera and my daughter and headed out for a photo adventure.


I like that they are moving out of the frame and looking back.

One of the benefits of photographing in the digital age is that you aren’t worried about the expenses associated with burning through many roles of film. In the days before digital photography, photographers tended to be more conservative with pressing the trigger because there was a real expense associated with developing the images and eventually printing them to paper. In this age of digital photography we have no real limitations to how many photographs we take of a subject, except time and card size.

I hope you take maximum advantage of this amazing benefit and really examine your idea and its subsquent set-up from all angles.


Not as much reflection as I might like, but I do like how the mouse is directly engaged with the viewer. Of course the focus isn’t as spot on as I would like. Those mice faces are tricky to focus on.

Its easy to get too set on that image in your head, the one that has been banging around for days, weeks or even years. Yes, it might be the perfect idea and photo, but what happens when you change angles? What happens when you approach the scene from a different height, move closer or change the lighting. Sometimes this extra effort doesn’t yield anything better than the original idea, but more often than not, I leave with an image I never could have imagined – in fact its much better than what I imagined.


Those colors on the surface of the water get me every time!

Rarely do I set up an image, take a few photos and walk away. I’m constantly moving around my subject, approaching the tableau from different angles, playing with the lighting and seeing how that changes on my camera’s screen. Sometimes micro adjustments in view or focus can turn your subject from a lifeless bit of plastic to a living breathing creature.


Is this the happy medium? There is good depth of field, at least one mouse’s face is in focus and with all the extra space in the background, they really feel like they are on a journey from the back of the photo to the front. I wonder where they are going?

Play around – don’t rush the photograph – and whatever you do, don’t forget to have fun!

Photography is a process that should be savored and enjoyed from the first sparkle of an idea to the final printed images – because frankly, its magic.

~ Shelly

I hope you take this weekend (or your next day off) and go out and have your own photo adventure. If you do, feel free to share the experience with us below. 


For what it’s worth – this was my original idea