What I know to be true

I’m not there yet.

My photography journey continues, spurred on by the inspiration of some amazing photographers. But I have learned a few things and I’d like to share six things I now know about photography. It’s entirely possible some of them may be interesting, or even true.

1. I am a photographer. This may seem odd but it was only a couple of years ago that I could finally utter the words, “My name is Lyle Krahn and I am a photographer.” It took me a few decades to figure out that the most simple, yet profound, definition of a photographer is someone who takes pictures.

The Rocky Mountains have been a prime target of my camera for a long time. I never get tired of visiting.

The gold standard I was seeking to get my ‘photographer designation’ kept moving as my expectations kept getting higher. It was better to focus on that sage old advice, “F8 and be there,” from Arthur Fellig.

2. When I say I enjoy photography, I really mean wildlife and nature photography. I’m hooked on emotion rather than science – so chances are pretty good I will have no idea what kind of bird flew into my photo.

It’s such a thrill for me to find wildlife and make photos – even better if it’s a bear! I’m inspired by John Marriott – an incurable grizzly fanatic and self-taught photographer.

3. I really like camera gear. All those buttons, menus and smooth gears – pure poetry. But David DuChemin constantly reminds his blog readers to quit focusing on the latest camera equipment and spend more time on photography. His mantra is, “Gear is good, vision is better.”

I’ve tweaked that slightly to, “Gear is fantastic, now how am I going to convince my wife to let me buy that new lens.” Surprisingly, good gear doesn’t always help me make better photos. One of my best photos was taken with a point and shoot, but please don’t tell my wife.

4. I keep learning. There’s so much to learn in all aspects of photography. Scott Bourne said it well, “Remember, 98% of all lenses are better than 99% of all photographers. It turns out once again I’m in the 99%!

Sharing the company of a young Rocky Mountain Sheep makes a good day absolutely amazing.

I’ve committed myself to learning. Sometimes it’s just remembering the basics like Joe McNally’s advice, “If you want to take more interesting pictures, stand in front of more interesting stuff.”

5. I discovered there is a gold standard for my photography. My dream is to be able to consistently envision a photo concept, take the photo and then process it to match the concept. In the meantime, I keep firing away.

Ultimately it’s trying to capture emotion. Guy Tal does that, “In my work, I wish to reflect something of the experience of creation, discovery, and romance that I felt myself at the time of making the image.”

6. At the end of the day I try to follow Darwin Wigget’s advice to make photos that speak to my soul. If others like it, that’s nice.

Photography is even more subjective than I ever dreamed. My family, friends and even esteemed camera club members rank photos vastly differently than I do. Sometimes the photo judging made me hyperventilate. The therapy still isn’t working.

Six points as promised but one last thing trumps them all. I have a very understanding wife. She puts up with my gear obsession and has waited countless hours for me to take thousands of photos … that I later deleted.

The journey continues.

(adapted from a presentation to my camera club)

Latest Comments

  1. Gunta says:

    Well, rats!!! Here I am trying to pare down an already unmanageable list of follows and then I stumble into yours. Couldn’t pass up adding yet this one more. Love your list! But I have to agree with Phil that the essential ingredient is having fun.


    • lylekrahn says:

      I have been struggling with the same thing. I suppose it would be insincere to apologize for adding to your problem so I’ll stop at thank you. And yes, Phil makes a good point – I’ll have to add that for next time.


  2. Scott Marshall says:

    love the final comments Lyle ‘She puts up with my gear obsession and has waited countless hours for me to take thousands of photos … that I later deleted.- now that is love


  3. melodylowes says:

    Perhaps knowing that you don’t know is the highest form of knowing! 🙂 I am going to say aloud at some point in my day, “My name is Melody, and I am a photographer” just to make a point. Being called such by others has been an unexpected joy – and a new layer I can add to the person I am becoming. I understand your joy in catching an emotion and spying on the natural world – I so ‘get’ that. Continue enjoying, learning, growing!!


    • lylekrahn says:

      I’m pleased to inspire the photographer label – it has been an expected joy for me as well! Spying is a great word to describe it and I certainly hope to continue discovering more of what I don’t know.


  4. Rejoice For The Day says:

    Inspiring words for the starting-out-photographer! Thanks for sharing!


  5. westerner54 says:

    Lots of good life advice here….


  6. caleephotography says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience! I don’t think I’ve earned the right to call myself a photographer yet, but I do take photographs and I follow your blog for inspiration and smiles 🙂


    • lylekrahn says:

      It’s hard to top inspiration and smiles – that’s inspiring in itself. Thank you.

      I would encourage you not to make my mistake and wait a few decades to call yourself a photographer. Just give yourself the freedom to recognize you are a photographer trying to get better. We are all trying to get better.


  7. allsortsofhope13 says:

    ❤ SEE ~ Mr Krahn, all that up there that you wrote, — that's what I was talking about. 😀
    oh, and I just love when I see 2 of my wonderfully talented fav's commenting on each other's blogs. Makes me all warm and fuzzy. Such a small (blogging) world.

    And though I am no where near the caliber of you folks, nor do I photograph wildlife or the like (we only have cows here in my *world*) the incredible Mr Lanoue is sooo right, don't ever lose the wonder, what would life be without the wonder?


    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks, you’re very kind. It’s generous of you to put me in the same category of Phil Lanoue – I really enjoy his photography. The blogging world does seem large and small at the same time.

      I certainly intend to keep the wonder. You seem to have found a way.


  8. Phil Lanoue says:

    One small piece of advice I would like to add is to…’have fun out there.’
    If you are truly enjoying being out in nature and occasionally (or hopefully even more often) coming back with a few real keepers well that is 90% of the whole deal right there in my view.
    Sometimes even wildlife photographers can get so caught up in all the technical aspects that they overlook the beauty and wonder.


    • lylekrahn says:

      That is great advice. It’s the reason I started to photograph in the first place but there have been times when when I drifted away from the wonder.

      The times I have been most content have been in the wild.


  9. Mike Powell says:

    Thanks, Lyle, for distilling some of what you have learned on your photographic journey into a few points that on the surface appear to be simple, but in reality are amazingly profound. I’m in an earlier stage of development, still searching for my identity as a photographer, but already I can see many of your points manifesting themselves in the way that I think about photography and the images I long to create. I may have one potential advantage/disadvantage–with no wife to restrain my impulses to purchase more and better gear, I have to practice self-restraint.


  10. starscraper99 says:

    Hi, I’ve nominated you for the super sweet blogging award!



I'd love to hear what you are thinking ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s