Do You Specialize?


I got asked if I do. Hmm… I need a moment.


I was at the Niagara Falls Air Show last weekend and enjoyed every second of the two days. It was free, exciting, a bit scary for the non-flying crowd like me.  Arriving early on Sunday I victoriously secured a good viewing location. Positioned between two really knowledgeable and chatty spectators, the day was golden. Feel the fun…

Saturday parking was a bear with 90,000 unforgiving spectators. Everybody wants to be up close. Not an option for me and arriving so late, I headed my Jeep to a pay-lot. I accidentally followed a car into the wrong parking lot though, and found myself at a local company’s private picnic for employees.

I sung my apologies about the unintended mistake as I was leaving, and the owner offered me to enjoy the show with them. Wow, it was like VIP treatment with the food, beverages, nice families and spectacular view of the planes. I was in heaven. The company adjoined a wetland so double the heaven seeing marsh birds.


Sunday I parked on base for free and met more wonderful people at the prime viewing spot. A 20-something guy on my right photographed air shows across the country and knew absolutely every plane and pilot. An experienced photographer, he even rode in some of the acrobatic planes. Blow-by blow play action as each plane lip-bitingly tumbled and stalled.

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The 40-something guy on my left was so enthusiastic, yet clueless with his new Nikon camera. I gave some advice to help improve his photos. He was pleased as punch at the results. So one guy helps me and I help the other. Hearing me describe how to shoot the planes…

Both guys asked what is my photography specialty. I said wildlife and birds, but when I thought about it, I really don’t specialize. Do you?


Most readers cannot really answer this question unless they are professional photographers. On Thursday…

I sat there looking at my camera equipment before the air show, debating whether I wanted to cart around so many heavy lenses just to be prepared for everything. I settled for the Nikon D750 and the little P510. The air show has such tight security, no camera bags were allowed, so imagine me a mule-horse draped in cameras. Pretty easy to see I don’t specialize in aerial photography.

It really boils down to what you like to shoot the most. I shoot birds, bugs, landscapes, nature, plants, gardens, and all kinds of animals. I like shooting churches and planes also. Way too many things I suppose. Why you ask? Because I am easily amazed and just as easily bored.

I hope you enjoy the photos of the planes. No boredom watching them perform. The red plane flown by Greg Koontz. The green plane flown by 73-year-old Gary Ward, and the Mig-17 flown by Randy Ball. Would you do something this dangerous at 73?


My daredevil days are long past. Maybe a post on that???

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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20 Responses to Do You Specialize?

  1. I would say no you don’t specialize…you shoot what ever strikes your fancy! Not being a professional photographer I have to decline to answer. Loved these shots of the planes Donna….great fun and well done.

  2. I LOVE the Variety of What You Capture – Please Keep It That Way 🙂 I would say I am more of a landscape photographer than a portrait photographer and love to capture what catches my eye. Happy Week – Enjoy!

  3. aussiebirder says:

    What a wonderful experience to stumble upon! Your pics are wonderful also!

  4. Excellent! Loved the story about the photographers near you, too. Airplanes would be a kick to photograph. These are great!

  5. David says:

    For someone who does not specialize in aerial photography that red plane doing a loop de loop (Greg-Kootz-3) was a pretty darn good capture. I would have to say that I don’t specialize in a particular photographic genre, but if one were to review my blog posts from the past year I would understand if I were accused of specializing in macro photography, primarily flowers and insects. I enjoy macro photography but it’s not my favorite type or the type I want to do most. It’s just that it is so darn convenient to walk outside (from anywhere I am) and start taking pictures. If I could I would be spending hours in the woods looking and waiting for shots of wildlife or I’d be out at the evening golden hour scouting sites and then returning to try to get that perfect blend of twilight and artificial light. Neither is convenient so I rarely get to practice those types of photography.

  6. Nurse Kelly says:

    You took some beautiful shots! I love the air show that comes to Cleveland every Labor Day. There is nothing like seeing the Blue Angels!

  7. Mike Powell says:

    The aerial shots are amazing. As for specialization, I tend to be an opportunistic shooter, though sometimes my choices are constrained a bit by the lens that happens to be on my camera. For, example, I love to take macro shots and if a bird flies by, I know that my chances of capturing it with my 100mm lens are pretty slim. I think that you are probably right that only professionals can actually make the choice to specialize. As David noted in his comment, most of us amateurs shoot what is convenient and can’t afford to pursue the kinds of images that pros do. Imagine chasing air shows across the country in search of the perfect shots.

  8. Christie says:

    I certainly enjoyed the beautiful air show pictures- you captured the essence of the day. Thank you for the kind comments on

  9. Great photos and a different challenge for your photography. I take anything and everything around me – it is about observing what is around me and being aware of my surroundings.

  10. It looks like you had perfect weather! I love how you can turn an embarrassing situation, like following a car into a private picnic, into a splendid opportunity.

    I think you do specialize. You take nature photos, which includes landscapes, plants and animals. You enjoy churches and airplanes and other subjects, but nature photography is your specialty.

  11. Super photos! I’ve been to an air show before and they are fun and scary. You couldn’t get me up in one of those planes now, maybe 30 years ago I would have. You pose an interesting question. I photograph my passions which are varied and therefore never boring (to me). Do you have to be a professional to specialize? I suppose specialization for professional photographers is their bread and butter but not necessarily their passion.

  12. alesiablogs says:

    I would say I love your bug shots a lot!! If we try to say we specialize in one thing – it narrows our endless potential to explore other photographic moments. I am glad you are open to many kinds of picture taking. I personally like close up shots of people’s faces although I do not take them much. I love big smiles the best!

  13. Cathy says:

    Well, you photograph birds… airplanes are birds… works for me!

  14. Sisah says:

    Spezialisieren , wozu? Hättest du dich auf deine Vorlieben ( Natur, Vögel, Gärten) beschränkt, würde ich jetzt nicht diese fantastischen Fotos einer Flugshow betrachten können. Solange man nicht sein Geld als Fotograf verdienen will, indem man eine ökonomische Nische sucht und kann seinen Blick durch die Kamera schweifen lassen.

  15. You always seem to run into fun situations like that company party. The photos of planes are great. I wouldn’t know where to start.

  16. Indie says:

    Woah, 73? That’s impressive! I don’t know if I ever did have daredevil days. What a fun thing to go see! I’m not anywhere close to a professional photographer, but I mostly take photos of bees, butterflies, and other critters, plants, and my kids. Photography is not necessarily my passion – I enjoy being outside, and taking pictures of the outdoors is one of the ways I enjoy it.

  17. What a fun time and a lucky mistake.As you know, Judy is the family photographer, and I would have to say she does not specialize – she just photographs whatever interests her, though a lot of that is in gardens.

  18. Would I fly something that dangerous at 73? I wouldn’t fly IN something that dangerous at 23 (and I did a boatload of “edgy” things at 23). Wow. Your photographs are wonderful! The one with the red plane flying upside down where the field and people are in view is truly scary. How close was he to the ground? It looks awfully close. The whole day sounds like the perfect adventure. As for specialization: I shoot what I find myself staring at (as long as I have my camera with me 🙂 ), but what I find myself staring at the most is nature.

  19. Your photos of the airshow are just awesome!!!! Thanks for sharing! I will be sharing this post as well seeing as I’m from Niagara Falls and several of my relatives attended the show!

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