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Not Bad For Failing at the Five P’s

June 20, 2013
Four-spotted Pennant

© jmillerphoto.com – Four-spotted Pennant

One of my bosses many years ago attributed the inability to perform to one’s fullest potential to a failure to adhere to the Five P’s.  That is, Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.  Actually he threw in a sixth P, but as I try to keep things suitable for family viewing I will not include the extra one.  I bet many of you have all ready inserted the extra word without even thinking about it.

And in many regards that describes my last couple of shooting experiences.

This past Sunday I went out to Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in San Antonio, Texas to make some images.  The weather Saturday was not overly hospitable to shooting and I really didn’t want to venture very far on Sunday.

And all in all it was a very good day of shooting.  The dragonflies were back in force at MLAC.  I had no troubles finding things to make images of and it really looks like the shooting is going to be very good throughout the summer.

However, within about an hour out at MLAC I realized I had failed to properly prepare.  Or at least completely prepare.  At about an hour into the shoot  I started to perspire pretty heavily.  It was at that point I reached for the small towel (a sweat rag, if you will) that I carry with me to absorb some of that moisture off of my ever-expanding forehead. It was at that point that I realized I had not put a new one in when I took the old one out last week.  Ooops.

I don’t have a problem with sweating per se.  It is how the body cools itself.  But sweat in the eyes makes it awful difficult to focus a camera and makes a very distinctive burning sensation.  And while I was vigilant about wiping off my forehead every once in a while, this distracted me from what I was there to do in the first place:  make nice images.  And of course once or twice I wasn’t as proficient as I should have been and got burning eyes as a result.  Oh well, live and learn.

White-winged Dove

© jmillerphoto.com – White-winged Dove

Tuesday took me on the road again to take care of some business back in San Angelo.  As has been my practice of late, I left early enough to get some quality shooting in at South Llano River State Park near Junction, Texas.  And again the 5P’s bit me again.

I had hoped to make some dragonfly images at Buck Lake.  But I neglected to look at the weather forecast ahead of time.  The area got between a quarter and a half of inch of rain Monday night.  This made a soupy mess of many of the trails.  Where didn’t I prepare?  I didn’t bring my trusty snake boots and instead was wearing only a pair of walking shoes.  Needless to say, I spent most of my morning in the bird blind.  But not that there was anything wrong with that.  I made quite a few nice images inside the blind.

American Rubyspot

© jmillerphoto.com – American Rubyspot damselfly

I did get down to the river as we were getting ready to leave the park.  And once again the 5P’s got me.  There was one slippery spot right before the stairs and I darn near face planted.  As it was, I managed not to land in the muck, but my shoes took a serious beating and I’m still cleaning the dried mud off of them.

Widow Skimmer

© jmillerphoto.com – Widow Skimmer

Finally we made it up to San Angelo, had a wonderful meal at our favorite Italian restaurant, and then took care of our appointed business.  Once we were done, I took a flyer and headed out to Middle Concho Park.  I had never been there but I had heard there was a wetlands area there.  And if there are wetlands, there are likely dragonflies.  I was not disappointed.  Wonderful shots to include an image of what will likely turn out to be my 2nd New County Record for Tom Green County.

But alas, the 5P’s bit me another time.  I had not left myself enough time before I had to get back into the car and return home.  I could have shot for hours along the banks of the river.  It was tons of fun.

So in spite of being bit by the 5P’s, I made some really nice images, had a great time, and didn’t violate them so badly that I had to go see a doc.  Guess that qualifies as a good couple of days of shooting.

About the Images:
Four images for the price of one blog entry today.  All were made with the Standard Gear, on the tripod, with no flash or macro tubes.  The Four-spotted Pennant (Brachymesia gravida) leading off the blog post was made at MLAC.  Wind was coming up a bit and the exposure compensation is always interesting on this very dark dragonfly.  Tech details were ISO 400, 1/200 sec at  f/11.  The White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) was one of many shots made from inside the Acorn blind that I was very pleased with.  Technical details on this one was ISO 400, 1/60 sec at  f/8.  I continue to get outstanding images of American Rubyspots (Hetaerina americana) on the South Llano River.  Technical details on this one were ISO 400, 1/100 sec at  f/13.  And last, but not least, the Widow Skimmers (Libellula luctuosa) were incredibly cooperative at Middle Concho Park.  I sure wish I’d had about all day to shoot at this park instead of just the paltry 20 minutes I ended up spending.  Technical details on the shot were ISO 400, 1/200 sec at  f/14.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2013 6:44 am

    Love the rubyspot! Even when things don’t go as planned (or as a result of lack of….) there can still be some cool surprises. I’ll have to remember the five (six) P’s when I need to emphasize the need for Plans B, C, D, and E.

    • June 21, 2013 6:32 pm

      Thanks Cindy. Indeed, sometimes the unplanned works out pretty well and there were many cool surprises along the way.

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