Saturday Evening Post #19 : Becoming a Beginner Again

Went to a talk the other night by a birding expert, Sean Dooley. One of the things he spoke about resonated with me as I’d just been pondering the way photography has affected my life, even from the time I was a young’un.

He told a tale of how as a a little tacker, he’d been watching and recording birds for a while in his local swamp at Seaford.  One day a bird landed, that was not of the usual residents.  He immediately knew it to be a Glossy Ibis. A bird that only migrated down on occasions and while not rare, was at least unusual for his area.  He explained the excitement he felt, first in finding or seeing the bird, and then in knowing what it was, and in knowing something about it from his studies.  That excitement was what drove him to spend a year long project seeing as many birds in Australia as possible.  He then wrote a book.

Steve Jobs is reputed to have said, after being fired from Apple the first time, “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again.”

My current mentor has got me thinking along those same lines.  What is it like to be committed to the photograph, not just the process, but the excitement of making the image.

To becoming a beginner again and being committed to the photograph itself, and in turn not letting the subject down.

There is of course a number of sides to this commitment.
Here’s another.

Being in the field is a profound experience.  It’s what makes bird photography such a noble pursuit. It isn’t just the photography that matters, nor bringing back a technically perfect image. But, rather being out in the field that shapes our souls. To take the time to listen, look, and to see. It’s what makes it difficult and at the same time its such a deep experience.
It’s not about the trophy shot, but about learning to sit and contemplate the beautiful mysteries of life.

Gotta go, I’ve a day in the field ahead. Time to become a beginner again.

Eloise bedecked in late aftenoon light. The shape and tone of the simplification to monotone adds its own element.

22 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #19 : Becoming a Beginner Again

  1. It was a great presentation by Sean the other night. We do need to look at each day in the field as a day of discovery and wonderment, each day a fresh experience. And we need to be standing up to be counted in support of our local wetland/bushland areas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. G,day David, he did make some interesting points. Not sure I’d be using my inheritance, (well actually now, my girls, and heading off any time soon”-) ) But his passion is something to be admired.


  2. So true David, what you share certainly resonates with my spirit. Also, I had a similar experience to Sean when a Glossy Ibis appeared in Sydney Olympic Park for a short time, and hardly any birders knew about it. The shots in my book all came from that bird, as I have never seen one in the wild since. They are birds that just turn up unexpectedly anywhere in the world. Hope you had an enjoyable and fruitful experience out in the field.


    1. Thank you Emily, appreciate your comments. Sometimes its a bit hard to really reach inside and bring out the feelings. But I’m exploring my life journey at the moment, and it does open up one’s soul.
      Fiinding words is not always as easy as pondering life through a viewfinder.
      I’ll keep looking both ways. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Jeremey, thanks for stopping by. There is a great freedom in being able to approach things without preconcieved ideas.
      The mystery of the natural world just keeps us going out and imbibing more.

      Liked by 1 person

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