Tip #54: Familiarity Breeds Success

Saguaro Sunset - Saguaro National Park
Nikon D100 + 300mm f2.8 AFD

Knowledge and experience can increase the likelihood of a happy accident. Web research and forum friends can get you “there,” but the opportunity to photograph wildlife, dramatic light and climatic conditions are ephemeral. “The revisit” is a practice to which I subscribe. Frequent travels to Costa Rica, Badlands and Joshua Tree National Parks have paid dividends. Familiarity breeds success, and I measure this success by the diversity of wildlife I see and the images I make. 
Ocotillo Study - Saguaro National Park
Nikon D100 + 20mm f2.8 AF
In 2003 I purchased a Nikon D100, 6mp DSLR. I sold three film bodies and ponied up nearly $1500 to make, this, my first digital buy. Intended to be a companion to my medium format Pentax AF645n bodies, I held my nose and entered the digital revolution. The Nikon was paired with a 300mm f2.8 AFD and 20mm f2.8 lens. It was an expensive experiment, but it also had the potential to breath new life into my art. Intended to be a supplement to the large negative landscape photography, I knew I’d love the immediacy of digital but was not prepared for the improved image quality.
Saguaro Study - Saguaro National Park
Nikon D100 + 300mm f2.8 AFD
In February 2003, the year I waded into the digital waters, Tamy and I journeyed to Saguaro National Park in Southern Arizona. The images that accompany Tip #54 were made with that D100 and they changed the way we now approach this craft. Nearly ten years later, Tamy and I are returning to Saguaro National Park. We look forward to our evenings on the edge of a wilderness and developing a fresh intimacy with this unique desert ecosystem.
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