Including the Environment - Context Matters


That’s a great observation Allen. I’m glad to hear you went back and reviewed just out of curiosity. Complete agreement on which style engages the viewer more.

That was an amazing morning at Bosque Del Apache years and years ago. Still one of my all time favorites!

Mr. Bauer @Keith_Bauer

Thanks for your feedback. I pretty much share only with my closest of friends now. I do really appreciate and value critique but only when it concerns image quality, composition, and exposure but not so much when it involves post processing,
probably because I’m not that good at it. For some reason I just don’t see the subtle nuances of contrast and illumination. It has to be pretty bad for me to see it and if it’s that bad I typically don’t keep the photo.



“It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed.”


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@bonnie Thanks for your reply and glad to hear this resonated with you. Wildscapes, Birdscapes, etc. all fit the concept exactly!!

@woody1 Exactly!! Both can be valuable to have. The point of the article was far too many of us only seem to get the close up shots. Glad to hear you like both!

@howard Thanks for your reply. I’m happy to hear your enjoyed to content.

Thanks for posting this Keith. It is very well done. And it has also helped clear up some things for me.
I have recently decided to try to take photos about something rather than of something. It was a suggestion I had received many years ago from a very well known and excellent photographer.

And your words “you’ll struggle when you begin to think about the context and how to share”.
add some clarity to my struggles.

Thanks Again, Dave

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That’s a great article and I couldn’t agree more. Maybe it’s just the biologist in me, but my favorite wildlife images (mine and others) are almost always ones that put the subject in the context of their habitat. They tend to tell a greater story than a portrait typically can. I think one of the best photographers at this, and someone who has had a big influence on my work, is Jim Brandenburg. Thanks for writing this and helping to expand people’s perceptions.

Thanks @robb_hirsch. I’m hoping folks will at least give it a thought when they are out in the field.

As DeWitt Jones said “There’s Always More than One Right Answer”

Thanks for posting this Keith. I need to consider this more with insects I photograph. I usually tendto get so close to bring out the subject that the environment is lost. Even with such small subjects I need to choose if the environment needs to be shown or not. Thanks again, great article

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Un très bel article, effet le soucis des longues focales 500mm et plus est que l’on cherche souvent le détail du plumage, le petit éclair dans l’œil du volatile. je suis le premier à le faire, ton article tres clair va je l’espère me faire regarder le monde des oiseaux sous un autre angle.
:clin d’œil:

Excellent, thoughtful article. Thanks

Thank you Keith for taking the time to not only write this article and also for sharing it with NPN. Great subject and lots to think about and work on.

Great article. That image of the geese… holy smokes!!! That’s insane light!
Its cool, I just had Clay Bolt on my podcast and we talked about macro photography… he said its important to include the environment in the scene as well for context. Good stuff.

One of those moments in life that’s amazing to see and having the chance to photograph it was even better. To make even more special, my daughter was standing next to me. She was 11 at the time. A lifer for sure.

This is a wonderful article Keith, it’s well written and very thought provoking. You often hear the phrase “less is more” in nature photography, but in terms of wildlife story telling you make a great case for “more is more”. The birds on a stick are merely eye candy, your evocative environmental images have a lot more substance.

I just can’t stop looking at your image of the 20 eagles in a tree with the fog in the background, it is just marvelous. :+1: :+1:

Does your daughter remember it the same way? =)

Yeah, turns out she had a little point and shoot camera and took some pictures of that moment. She entered them in the State Fair here in New Mexico that year and did very well. Winning wasn’t important, she was there, captured the images and shared them proudly. Of course it made Dad pretty proud also!!

That is so cool! I’d love to see her rendition!

Well @Matt_Payne here it is. This is a digital shot of her print. Her original was on film. Some sort of negative film. Far too long ago to remember what it was. Who knows what focal length, but obviously pretty wide. Still such an amazing moment!!

Great images and a great lesson Keith!

There are no rules, only great images.

Thanks for sending this!


“Dictation by Cole, Mistakes by Siri!”

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