Saturday Evening Post #50: Feeling the Magic

David DuChemin asked a very important question the other day.
“Do you remember the first time you saw the magic?”

Now for some of us, photography is simply a tool, a necessity, or perhaps a passing phase, or maybe even a distraction from other things.
Some of us use the images particularly us birders, as references, id help, or simply to record our observations.
The technique, the art, the technical challenges are of so little importance as to not be bothered with.
Others, sad to say, I think, use it as a chance to vent on various photo blogs, fb/insta pages on the newest-latest-greatest,-worstest hardware/software that is  is bugging them at the moment. Next month of course, it will be something different. As the ad for a betting app proclaims, ‘Even the permanently offended can use it”

The magic, dear David D., never happens!

Add to that the latest iteration of that amazing must-have piece of technology, the ‘smart phone’, and all the wonders of the AI inspired software, and its plain to see that like slide projectors, and Kodachrome disappearing off the horizon, great changes to the photographic landscape are in the wind.

I once did a presentation at a major photo convention, titled “Riding the Wind of Changing Technologies”. Short version, I addressed the changes that was about to sweep silver halide technologies away like a tsunami and the directions that the digital age might take. Regrettably the discussions afterward were all about the error of my ways, and not about how the new tech could be used to advance our art.
Time as they say, does tell.

Now the Luddite in me {Luddite: Luddites feared that the time spent learning the skills of their craft would go to waste, as machines would replace their role in the industry} might throw up its hands in horror, but the truth is that each change in the technology does not destroy our art. It simply allows it to grow.
In tai chi, one of the old masters wrote against simply doing the same moves over and over again without change. “It is the change that brings depth to the art, otherwise it will die.”

And that as they say, “is the thing”.

Photographs touch us deeply. They allow us to express more than just, ‘oh, I saw this’ they allow us to show how we feel about the subject.

And that is the magic. The ability to allow others to experience what we saw. I’d venture to postulate that the tools we use for that are no where near as important as the passion of the photographer to bring powerful images that create experiences in our emotions and imaginations that we will never forget.

I enjoy looking at photos trying to see not only the image, but the photographer behind. To me that is the magic.

Grey Goshawk (White morph)


10 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #50: Feeling the Magic

  1. Yes David: the magic is what keeps me going, even though the days of revealing images under a red (sometimes orange) light in the dark rooms are only the memories of days long gone. And I completely agree with what Eleanor has written above. Thanks for the white magic of this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Adam, thanks for the insight. We might have learned some interesting techniques in the darkroom, and preparing images for that process. All of which I think make great stepping stones for future photos. See Comment to Derek regarding the Goshawk story


    1. Hello Derek, bit unusual for it to be in our area. I think it was hunting feral pigeons for a couple of weeks.
      I got a heads up it was there, and EE and I went for a look, saying “I wonder how we’ll find it. When 50 m from the car we saw a white shape through the trees. Managed to get a good look and worked out the best place to photograph, when a jogger came down the footpath near it, and it flew. Was gone before I could say, “there it goes’. 🙂


  2. The ‘magic’ is all around us. It is how we see it and respond to it that matters.
    And yes, we need to adapt to new technology, and we can do that because we (hopefully) understand our craft.
    A fabulous image of the Grey, one I am yet to get!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks David. I’m reading a book at the moment by an English dude who literally built up a health and retreat business from nothing. (Used to be a barrow boy in London). Its all about building on the magic around us.
      Photography allows us to share that with others.


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