Saturday Evening Post #16 The Violin and the Camera

Came across a quote from David DuChemin the other day—yes, I’m still reading his book(s).

“For most of us we picked up the camera because putting the viewfinder to out eye and expressing ourselves through the photo was the most magical thing ever”.
Of course he is talking to photographers that may not have the same background, intent or purpose that i have when I go out to photograph birds.  Yet, at one level, looking through the viewfinder and see the amazing actions, beauty and story of these feathered creatures applies in some way.

Sometimes it getting the best possible technical picture of the bird, sometimes its the challenge of making the hardware perform, or using the right technique or choosing the right sliders in the software to enhance our meagre vision.

But, in the same way that a violin does not play the music itself, a camera does not make a photo by itself. Yet sometimes as photographers we begin to think the new camera, lens or software will finally give us the golden images in our journey. i wonder if the master violinist would treat their beloved instrument the same way we seem to deal with our technology.
“Oh, look there is a new 10megamusic  violin, and it comes with built-in memory.” Every musician rushes for the new instrument.  “Hey, look they’ve just released a 24megmusic model, its got bluetooth and dynamic range speakers” Suddenly last year’s model is not longer being played.  “Announcing the breathtaking new highly advanced 46megmusic with interchangeable neck and internet upload capability.”
The skill of the master musician is not only in the music, but also in their use of the instrument. A new model does not make up for the many years of patient, dedicated and sometimes exhausting practice that they have put in to hone their craft. To make it art.

So I ponders, to meself, and then to blogosphere, and of course you dear, suffering reader, why will the next great breakthrough in camera technology increase the hit rate I get.  Or should I instead be working on resonance with my subject.  Self-answering question.

As someone once said, “If I’m more interested in the destination than the journey, I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t get there immediately, and disappointed when I do.”

The Tao master Lao Tzu said it this way, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Forget the end result When you arrive, you’ll start a new journey”, or something pretty similar to those words. 🙂
Nature it seems never forces anything to grow.   Yes step by step, tiny bug, by tiny bug, the juvenile Dusky Woodswallow will emerge as an adult. Ready to start its own journey of discovery.

Good luck.



4 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #16 The Violin and the Camera

    1. HI Eleanor, thanks for the note. I probably was having too much of a good thing with David DuChemin’s book. Hope the shot of the Dusky’s was worth it.
      You would have had great weather for the beginners outing.


  1. There is much truth there. It is said that clothes maketh the man, however the camera does not maketh the photographer or the photograph. In my life as a sound engi. I often have to use ‘house equipment’, which is never the best, but I still have to create the best outcome. The same applies with photography. I could spend a small fortune on a Phase One camera but that alone won’t get me better images. A great image must have part of me included, and that can be achieved with a $500 bridge camera!
    Love the Woodswallows.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. G,day,
      Been interesting to watch the hardware parade out on K Road at the moment, at any one time the amount is probably more than GDP for a small nation. 🙂
      I think the digital revolution, facebook and instagram has made it all to easy for mediocre to be the normal, and “Awesome best shot ever”, the standard response.
      More, bigger, more mobile is not the journey for an artist. I once shot a magazine spread with a small 3 meg camera and had to put up with one of the partners telling me, “I wouldn’t shoot this with less than my Nikon F5 and Velvia”. My response was, “You’re not shooting it, I am”.
      And I guess that is where there is a broad line between the technical shot of a bird (on a stick) or the visually exciting shot (of a bird on a stick).
      Struggle, fail, try again, succeed and enjoy. All part of the journey.

      I’ll be a little less introspective next weekend 🙂
      ps, there were about 20 Snipe at Glen Orden the other day, but the water is seriously reduced.
      Thanks for the considered comment.

      Seeya Along the Track


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