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Chickens??? Notes from the Field


Hackberry Farm Photo School
A recent presentation at a camera club.

Yeah, you are looking at that correctly. The picture is of me giving a talk to a camera club a couple of weeks ago, and there are chickens on the screen. You may wonder, "What do chickens have to do with nature photography?"


Well, not much. At least in this context.


If you've heard me speak or have been to one of my workshops, you know three things:

  1. I love telling stories;

  2. I don't take myself too seriously.

  3. I love having fun.


Therefore, in this case, I told a story about doing good things for my wife, her chickens, our farm, and, ultimately, our marriage and how almost all of that goodwill was undone when I nearly lost our little dog, Max, on that same day.

What did that have to do with photography? Well, nothing, but that was the point. The story was humorous, got some big laughs, and lightened the mood at the start of the talk. It relaxed everyone and set the pace for a great afternoon of learning because people knew they were about to have some fun.


Hackberry Farm Photo School
Max - Head of Hackberry Farm Security

I've spent a lot of years as a teacher - first as a high school teacher and now as a private educator, a speaker, an educational consultant, and a workshop leader. I have found that the most effective way of teaching someone is for the instructor to be humble, approachable, and credible.


Hackberry Farm Photo School
A private, light painting workshop held recently in the Texas Hill Country.

Those three traits epitomize how I was raised to be as a person, and they're the same three traits I try to employ in everything I do.


What's the point in all of this?


Well, I was speaking to someone the other day who was frustrated in where they were in their journey as a photographer.


"My pictures don't look as good as others," she emphatically says.


"Well, what would that look like if you thought they were as good as others?" I quizzed.


Silence ensued. She ponders my question.


"My advice," I say, "is to stop looking at what others are doing and focus on what you can do. Above all, have fun."


She smiled. "That's what's missing. I need just to have fun."


The point is to have fun with your photography. When you can do that, everything else seems to fall in line magically.



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