The Luck of the Draw
There is a huge end of season sale on hawk pictures. Better get 'em while you can, these prices will not be available again the rest of the year. The Red-tailed hawk is in clear view these late winter days before the storm tossed heads of the hardwoods thicken again with new green foliage. While it is one thing to photograph a perched RTHawk serenely scanning the roadside fields for the squirrels, mice, and chipmunks, it is quite another to snatch these ruddy raptors on the wing. I have often been amazed how quirky jerky shore birds transform into superbly aerodynamic creatures when they take to the air. It is much the same with these chunky raptors with their Churchillian panache. Once in the air the lines sharpen from a rotund heaftyness to that of a knife edged battleaxe. It is a breathtaking transformation the nuance of which is much to fast for the naked eye to fathom. Digital photography steps into that gap with a tecnological feat known as Auto-focus. Most cameras focus when the shutter button is half pressed forcing the camera to refocus with every shot. On my Dslr camera focusing duties are given over to a seperate button maintaning constant focus on moving objects while I worry about keeping a soaring bird centered in the frame and timing a well lit shot. Alas, even autofocus is easily and often confused when a brown bird flies through a branch filled world and our good friend Luck determines whether there is a prize in the camera or not.
"Diligence is the mother of good luck." So said Benjamin Franklin and though he wasn't speaking of nature photography his sentiments ring true here too. Diligence is definetly what it takes to bring home the bacon. Problem is, having your eye pasted to a view finder changes the essential experience that brought you to nature in the first place.
There seems to be a schism between pure observation and photographing an event. I feel it myself. So much concentration goes into getting a snap that not much of me is left over for the pure emotion of being at the crossroads of time and place. Isn't that why folk are enamoured with the adventuresome nature of wild life photography, that the person taking the picture is as present in the blessed moment as the beast itself? This is perhaps a misconception. I see these encounters as opportunities to get lucky. Bottom line: If I see a beautifully lit bird and I don't have my camera, I curse my luck. Shame on me!
The emotional element comes later when I open my files and see if a good picture was managed. A cracking shot gives the moment its special significance. No picture/No fun. This seems rather superficial doesn't it? Does Franklin's "Diligence" have its down side?
I don't think I was always this way. I used to be able to breathe in nature as a particapent but being behind the camera has changed all that. Nature for me is now experienced in the third person.
Is this the price one pays for Good Luck?
The country of Qatar joined World Bird Wednesday for the first time last week. Welcome!
This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most beautiful treasurers, the birds.
You don't have to be a Bird Watcher or expert photographer to join in, just enjoy sharing what you bring back from your explorations and adventures into nature!
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