Not All Photography Is Equal

One of the things that frustrates me as a professional photographer is the all too common belief that great photography is just a simple matter of pointing the camera and pressing the button and then, maybe, adding some weird, digital filter to the final photo.  Photography is a skill, an art, a passion.  Some have it and some don’t.  There is a difference between taking a photograph and making a photograph.

Ice formation on Parker Brook in Stokes State Forest
©Dawn J. Benko


I arrived at this spot on a cold, February morning, somewhere between 8 and 9 o’clock.  I didn’t like the light, so I moved on, wandering up and down the brook all day taking photos.  I would come back to this scene every so often to see if it was ready for it’s closeup.  This photograph was, finally, created around 5pm.  I had about a ten minute window to setup my tripod and camera and find the angle I wanted.


A northern water snake has a green frog for dinner.
© Dawn J. Benko







Similarly, I arrived at this swamp between 8 and 9 am.  This shot was made around 5:30pm.  In reality, it took days, weeks, even months of sitting in the swamp in the hot sun watching, and waiting.  That time was also spent learning.  And once the action began, I had to find ways to get my photos without interfering with the natural process.

I had posted this photo on Facebook, and a friend remarked on what a lucky shot it was.  After I explained what it took to get the shot, another friend remarked, “It’s hard work being that lucky.”