Sometimes the simplest subjects are the most wonderful and most beautiful to photograph. Most of the times they are also the hardest to notice and hardest to make yourself photograph with everything else pulling at your visual attention.

Last week I was walking up the Indian River in Sitka, Alaska leading some Crossroads photography participants on a photo hike to find old-growth forests and spawning salmon. It was a magical place with huge Sitka spruce and western hemlocks towering over crystal clear water chocked full of Pink salmon. Almost every where we looked there were pictures to be taken and I took many of the river and the salmon and the old forest.

One of my favorite photos though was of a single feather half submerged and run aground on the dark gravel stream bottom. I liked the simplicity, the palette of colors, the water drops and the juxtaposition of the delicate feather against the hard rocks. What I didn’t like was the difficulty of getting down so low to get the composition I wanted and the distracting glare from the cloudy sky above that wiped out the subtle details of the scene.

I solved the getting low part by turning my Nikon D750’s LCD screen to face up and using live view to compose the shot. This allowed me to kneel on the wet gravel and not lie down on top of it. I solved the glare problem by hovering over the feather so that my body blocked the white sky above it and cut down on the offending shine. Two problems solved- one the old fashioned way and one the new fangled way.