Ever been deeply engrossed in something when you look up suddenly as you are grabbed by the thought, "Just why am I doing this?"
There I was with suitably concealed, with my digital camera with a long zoom attached snapping garden birds, with the camera set to silent shutter, super high frame rate and continuous AF with focus tracking. Then that thought struck me and was answered quickly, "I have no idea". It all seemed so pointless.
Why was that then, you may well ask? Well, there were three answers to this.
- No matter how hard you try it's impossible to be original, it's all be done before many time over by many photogs, so what's the point?
- I had only taken up garden bird photography as a distraction during lockdown not because I had any real interest in it.
- With all the technology on board the camera it is relatively simple, with practice, to create technically good images in what was once a challenging genre of photography; where's the satisfaction in that?
In essence, the fundamental components of photography are the subject, composition and exposure. Exposure itself then comprises three elements; those of shutter speed, aperture and media sensitivity (ISO). For photography to be fun for me, the factors that govern it should largely up to me and not my camera.
I want to be in control using my skill, knowledge and experience to guide the outcome to get it right first time in camera, not machine gunning away at 30 frames per second then scrabbling through the hundreds of images afterwards praying to get a good one and cropping it in post to make up for any compositional deficiencies, just to end with an image similar to the thousands of others out there on the interweb. Where's the fun in that?
The only good thing about spending all this time studying these winged friends though the viewfinder was all I started to learn about their behaviour, it and they are fascinating. Like our friend above who was getting ready to launch herself from the brach, having looked up, then left and right, then down.
Well, no there was no launch. She just suddenly tipped forward and plummeted in a blur, wings folded. Then she snapped opened her wings and zoomed off at great speed as woodpeckers do. Boom, gone all in a split second. Who knew?
The lesson that emerges from all this isn't the photography but the simple pleasure of watching the garden birds themselves. So tomorrow forget the camera, I shall grab my binoculars find a comfortable secluded seat then sit back and watch the fun