Sacred Time

Sacred Kingfishers on the Werribee River Park. 12 October 2017

There are billions of photographs out there. The world in no way 
needs more mediocre images. 
What the world does need is more passionate photographs, 
images that begin life conceived by the eyes, 
but expressed through the lens by the heart. 
If you are going to create better photographs, 
begin with things you care about deeply. : David DuChemin
You are Welcome Here.

“It’s a Sacred Kingfisher,” Mr An Onymous called. To no one in particular, and those around him just looked and nodded hoping that was the end of the outburst.

“Pee-p, Pee-p, Pee-p, Pee-p”.  It is a Sacred Kingfisher says Mr A.  But quietly, to himself.

He dropped me a note and I was glad of the info.  We’d been talking of their return the past few weeks.

I told EE.  She put on her skates and was ready to go.   Those who follow her Flickr posts will be well aware of the time, energy and effort that she put into the pair the past season. It is, “Something she cares deeply about”. And being passionate, as David DuChemin is wont to remind, “Photographing those things you are passionate about tells me several things. It shows me more of you. It shows me more of the thing you love. And it makes better photographs.”

So we went.  Now the access road to the “Office”—Werribee River Park— for new readers, has been closed these last six weeks or so.  The road was ripped up by hoons and 4wds when it was wet, and the road had become nigh on impassable for normal vehicles.  Think Sir Perceval—i20— for new readers. But a check the day before had shown Parks Vic had sent in the heavy duty toys and the road had been re-graded, and surfaced and was a version of Dorothy’s Yellow Brick Road, for all the Wizard of Oz fans. So donning our “Ruby Slippers” —or Silver ones if you’ve read the book— we set off in search of Oz, or Sacred Kingfishers if they turned up first.

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Enjoying the Freedom of Flight

Black-shouldered Kites Growing up. October 10, 2017

Waiting is not Patience. Patience is about the moment,
 an intersection of the strongest story with the right light,
 the best timing and an awareness of the around.
 Waiting makes us pay attention. David Duchemin

You’re Welcome Here.

We’ve been tracking a clutch of Black-shouldered Kites down on the 29 Mile Road at the Western Treatment Plant.  The young have been on the wing now for over two months, and are now the expert hunters.  They are just moulting out the last of their juvenile ginger and grey feathers and the eye is taking on the rich ruby colour of adult-hood.

The best perches in the area are along the roadside, the few trees and fenceposts and man-made solar panels and the like.  And because of their consummate skill in the air, and the vast quantity of mice in the area, the young kites seem quite oblivious to human presence.

So sometimes it’s possible to get right into the world of the hunting birds—not as a long distance observer—in a hurry—but to take the time the learn about the birds, their preferences for hunting areas and their choice of spots to enjoy their successes.

I’ve been reading and following photographer David DuChemin and his approach to teaching a photographic vision.  He has a series called Vision is Better.  He talks about patience, waiting, the involvement in the around and being able to identify with the subject to really tell their story.  On one such video he travels to  British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest to photograph the Spirit Bears – a white variation of the black bear.  His video is shot from a short kayak trip, and I think its possible to really get both his excitement of the area, and his immersion in the moment, (if you will allow the pun).

Here’s the link if you’ve got 10 minutes.  https://craftandvision.com/blogs/all/vision-is-better-ep-20

 

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Eynesbury bi-Monthly Walks: Onya Chris.

One of the areas that we really enjoy working and walking in is a strand of Grey-box forest at Eynesbury.  I’ve written of my joys of Grey-box a number of times and the area is primarily flat, open and easy to negotiate. Apart from the usual fire access track, the Eastern Grey Kangaroo mobs that roam the area have left some very useful pad tracks that make getting around the area simple.

Eynesbury village has among other things—well apart from the golf course—a connection with the forest and locals are quite proud of the beautiful area. One of the locals, Chris Lunardi, is committed to helping people understand the environment, and the challenges of returning the forest to a pristine state.

To that end, one of his activities is a bi-monthly bird walk through the forest.  From humble beginnings this has grown to a well patronised activity, and something, EE, Mr An Onymous and I try to get to each session.

To add to that, Chris has been awarded the 2017 Dame Phyllis Frost award at the Keep Victoria Beautiful, Sustainable Cities
“This is a very prestigious award and is a just award for such a passionate environmentalist.”

This is a video link to Facebook for receiving the award.  Well done Chris, the hard work has been worth it.

The Eynesbury Environment Group also received a “Highly Commended” runner up award under the Protection of the Environment banner. This also is great achievement for such a young group and congratulations to all those involved.

Chris and part of a morning group

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Studio Werkz: Restless Flycatcher, on the Run

Be like the forces of nature: 
when it blows, there is only wind; 
when it rains, there is only rain; 
when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.
Lao Tzu

When I was a mere broth of a photographer, and knee deep in learning the craft, one of the big studio swings was away from formal portraits in a studio and more to ‘environmental portraits’, as they became known.

I’ve blogged on this process here before and over on Studio Werkz, and the studio I was working with, at the time, was quite slow in making the ‘customer’ perceived change and ‘that mob’ down the road with their shiny new Hasselblads made the running. Yet the young-gun in me was always eager to explore new opportunities. And like hand-coloured black and white photos, the old studio portrait gave way to the more ‘exciting and involving’ outdoor portrait.

As much of my own direction turned to product photography the need to embrace the new age really didn’t catch me.  After all who wants to see their precious white-porcelain bathroom bowl posed against some tree/plant/water feature or industrial backdrop.

Yet, I have to be among the first to acknowledge, the chance to use the power of the ‘around’ and the available light has always given me a real pleasure when I get to do the occasional, informal portrait.

I’ve been contemplating my own bird photography of late, and while I enjoy the camaraderie of the Flickr page tis  a tough medium to encapsulate the images that go into making a story of the birds.  Long time readers will recall the earliest blogs here were much more the sharing of time with a bird or pair or family as it seemed to me to bring the story of their important lives.

So, I have considered combining Studio Werks into BirdasPoetry, and share the challenges of the craft of portrait stories.

Which of course takes us directly into the field and in this case a sunny morn at the You Yangs.

And almost before we had the cameras out of the car, the shrill, Zhhhhht, Zhhhhht, Zhhhht.  Pling pling pling, of a Restless Flycatcher rang in our ears.

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Studio Werkz: The White-plumed Honeyeater Appointment

I know all the birds of the hills

Psalm 50

To say we’ve had a run of weather of late would be to guild the lily somewhat.  Lack of sunshine, and howling southerly winds have been much more the norm. Add to that the best of fast moving squalls with intense rain, and well, its enough to make you roll over and pull the donnah up even closer.

So with a touch of sunshine peeking through the breakfast room window, EE and I decided on a quick trip to The Office.  Image our surprise when we found Mr An Onymous out there as well.  Put it down to the call of the Osprey.  However she wasn’t in residence so we had to content ourselves with lesser subjects.

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