Michael (Deverreaux): per ardua ad astra

I joined NPN in the hope of interacting with a diverse, friendly community of fellow photographers who are more interested in learning, growing, and helping one another in the craft than competing, judging, and shooting by arbitrary strictures. I live and work in Denver, Colorado, have been an amateur photographer off-and-on for the last decade, and find creativity and peace of mind in imaging landscapes, cloudscapes, flora and stone macros, and the occasional lucky fauna close-up.

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Welcome to NPN Michael, glad to have you aboard here. I look forward to seeing more of your work through your posts. And don’t be hesitant to comment on the works of others, it’s a great way to meet members of our community. I think you find a level of constructive critique and comments at NPN that is very helpful, we do emphasize learning and teaching over competition and “likes”. From your comment about competing and judging it sounds like you may have had an unfavorable experience at a competitive camera club. I think you will find NPN to be a refreshingly different environment than a camera club. Don’t get me wrong, camera clubs can serve a very valuable purpose, and can be a good place to learn too, but sometimes the competition aspect gets in the way of continued growth as a photographer.

Welcome Michael. Stone macros?! Nice, bring 'em on.

I think you’ll find NPN refreshingly different. I’m a new member, too, and have found the help and insight here invaluable.

Be most welcome to NPN @Deverreaux.

You sure came to the right place. NPN is the most welcoming and friendly forum i have entered, and the one on which i have learned more. Fell free to question anything and join any conversation, and i cant wait to see your upcoming post.


Hello Ed—thank you so much for the warm welcome! I am eager to explore NPN, meet fellow photographers, and have meaningful, mutually educative dialogues on people’s craft. One of the biggest attractions of NPN is the absence of competition; while it has its place, I find it can readily diverge from constructive, insightful critique that’s grounded in the work and the artist’s aims, into exposition on a judge’s subjective preferences and prejudices. I appreciate that some like the verve of competition, the ranking system, and ego satisfaction; in some other areas of my life, I do too. But for me, photography is first and foremost about aesthetic discovery, expression, and development; competition here tends, in my experience, to countermand this aim. I am in a local camera club now that is heavily focused on competition, with a conservative bent on technical acumen and traditional photographic rules; NPN feels refreshingly different compared to that.

Don’t get wrong—I have great respect for the “rules” as a structural starting point, an initial framework; also, of course, technical mastery is essential. But as I used to teach writing students, half a lifetime ago, you learn the rules in order to understand how to skillfully break them. I believe this is a necessary step on the path to becoming your own artist. Also necessary is discovering your own balance of self-confidence and humility, so to stay open-minded yet clear about your art.

I could talk for hours on aesthetics—I’ll spare you that here. But I look forward to what NPN offers, and sharing with others like yourself!

Warm Regards,

Michael T. Williams

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Hello Kristen—thank you for the warm welcome, and perspective as a new member. I will take you up on the invitation to share macros soon, something I am only recently getting into. I am generally a photographer of big skies and cloudscapes, but hiking has taught to train my camera eye as much groundward as heavenward. What do you use for macros? I have a Canon Rebel XSi with the stock 18-55mm lens, and am curious what macro lenses are best suited for it. I am also contemplating getting a Nikon Coolpix P1000 for the extreme built-in telephoto/macro capability and deep ISO sensitivity. Any thoughts you care to share would be much appreciated. Have a wonderful day!

Warm Regards,

Michael T. Williams

Well Michael,
I am a Micro four-thirds shooter and have a Panasonic G9. Up until last year I shot with a 1980s-vintage lens for Olympus cameras - a 90mm f/2 macro. It has a nice working distance and it’s bright and unbelievably sharp. However it’s old, rare & mechanical so I was literally using it to death. After having it fixed the tech said he couldn’t fix it again because there were no parts for them. So I bought a used (in spotless condition) Leica 45mm f/2.8 macro that is made for Panasonic MFT cameras. It’s a gem and because it’s a system lens, it autofocuses which is something I don’t always use, but is nice to have for handheld shots & stacking. I had a friend with a Canon fixed lens camera (this was 10 years ago) and she got incredible macro pics with it, so I bet the Nikon will be excellent, too.

Looking forward to seeing some of your work.



Hi Michael and welcome aboard. A very fine first post, too. I think you will find NPN extremely friendly and quite helpful and not at all competitive. I find the more one comments, the more inclined others are to reciprocate and all benefit. I am looking forward to seeing more of your work!