Saturday Evening Post #96: Eavesdropping

I don’t know about anyone else, but seriously, I’m seriously over Zooming, Youtube tutorials on just about every subject there is. Youtube product reviews, that are simply biased every which way, and the “We’re all in this together” mantra.  I just don’t get it. The number of vidiotclips I’ve watched on how to make the most of my post-processing, are hardly entertaining, nor that well filled with actual instruction, and a lot of waffling (well, I shouldn’t complain about that too much should I, dear blog reader), and in the end not all that helpful for the types of problems I’m trying to solve. Not everyone is making (thank goodness) 34 frame HDR landscapes.
Joe McNally said it best, ” Post is not a hospital for poor camera handling technique.”

Must be the weather, or it’s hard to be a non-photographing photographer, or perhaps a non-plumbing plumber, we just can’t get out to our subjects, (well ok, a plumber can do emergency calls)

Eavesdropping is different.  Listening to two totally invovled photographers in discussion about many elements of the craft, and little snippets of value seem to drift out, hoping to be cherished beyond the intimate discussion, and landing every so vapour-like on an eager ear. Something to build on.  Or perhaps, slipping slowly across the void, hitting the wall or ceiling and lost forever.

We, EE, I and David Nice, have spent many hours with the nesting kites and their energetic young. It’s like eavesdropping on their lives. Waiting for an instant that is more than just another kite shot, but a real insight into their lives, a sensitivity for the moment. Learning a little about what it’s like to be a Black-shouldered Kite. I spoke with a long time friend today, about the excitement of being close enough to see the feathers rise and fall as the bird breathes.  You don’t get that on vidiot.:-)

Here is one snippet that I meant to publish when I spoke of Rodney Smith in Saturday Evening Post #93, Speaking Privately.
You can see the full text here. But here is the eavesdropped version.

Rodney was photographing the Chief Executive Officer for a corporation.
He says, “I’d learned over the years that the play for power and control was simply fear… if you could earn their trust, they were willing to be truly vulnerable and powerful subjects.
The CEO walked in and said, “I’m very busy, let’s get this over as soon as possible.”
Everybody, the people who hired the people who hired me are sweating.  Time is motionless.
Smith asks him to stand in one place, look directly at the camera, takes one picture and says, “Ok, that’s it, you can go now.”

Subject says, “Are you serious? That’s it”.

Smith replies, “I believe you have a competent picture equal to the effort you’ve put in to that experience and I’m willing to accommodate your need for speed. If you have some time in the future, and are willing, together we can produce something of far more substance, but now, that one frame will be enough.”

He leaves, everyone else leaves (quietly), Smith packs up and heads down the hallway.
Just about out, and the secretary says “He would love to see you in his office.” Smith is then shown some photos of houses that the CEO owns, and offers that he would love to be photographed in one of those locations where he would have more time.

“If one opens up to me, I’ll give them my heart and soul… the picture is bigger and stronger than me. It is sacred and worth fighting for.   What starts with a handshake in the end is an intimate embrace.”

I was sitting on the grass, at the edge of a foot-bike path.  The young kites were intrigued by the concrete and the grass and whatever might be in the grass.  Every-so often their concentration was broken by a bike-rider hurtling past, but they quickly came back to investigate.
This one was working its way up the footpath towards me. Could it see me? Of course. Did it change its approach because I was there, No not one bit.

Holding my breath, and trying to avoid camera shake, and suddenly it rose up, flew toward me, and landed on the grass. I could see the feathers rise and fall.




9 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #96: Eavesdropping

  1. I am right with you in the lack of enthusiasm for zoom etc. Have had enough for this lifetime methinks. And the You Toob!!!!! I did watch one recently that after 3/4 of an hour of waffle I got to the 42 seconds that told me what I wanted to know. Back to reading books.
    A fabulous image of the Kite and I agree with Smith. Sometimes the subject is just that, other times a relationship is formed. As we experienced with the B-s K’s, the magic happened and we were privileged to enter their world. And that makes a difference to the images.
    Definitely a day today for hiding under the doona! Stay warm, stay well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. G,day David,
      I have to say I’m not normally the vidiot user. Have spent much more time that usual, and have been rightly disappointed.
      Saw one dude ‘reviewing’ the lastest Nikon Z cameras and his entire review revolved arount trashing the new lens mount. It’s size in particular. Never did get around to explaining why that meant the camera would not be able to make good pictures.
      The worse ones I think I’ve found are the non-name photo experts with no real photography credit waffling on about this or that slider, plugin or preset, (which they just happen to have for sale), that doesn’t in anyway address what I want to know about using the software in my own work.
      My one exception to that is excellent Lightroom-Photoshop material by Julianne Kost, and the One minute Coffee Breaks by Benjamain Warde. i’m going to give him a shout out in saturday.

      I think we might have been a bit spoiled by the approach of the Kites out on Snyedes Rd. Enjoyed it while we could.


  2. You speak my mind David (again) and I’m happy I am not bothered by zooming since I’ve left my so-called gainful employment and not much since I’ve acquired my Nikkor 500 PF. On the other hand I must admit I still watch some webinars trying to gain some Nik Collection skills, yet the waffling does constitute a major difficulty in my learning process.
    I definitely profit from reading Rodney Smith’s blog as much as I do enjoy your writing and images of Black-shouldered Kites that bring these amazing birds so close to me. True, I cannot see the feathers rise and fall but I’m thrilled nevertheless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. G’day Adam, tis hard to find good robust and well thought out tuts. Most seem to be, oh, stick up a camera, turn on the mic, speak a lot, and well, people should be flocking to view.
      One of my favs on using Nik is Robin Whalley at Lenscraft. (and yes he does have things to sell!!), a UK landscape photographer who has lots of short vids on getting the most out of Nik. I’ve used Nik since the beginning andI watched one of his clips a few weeks ago, and he showed a keystroke I’d never known existed, and did just what I want. So we all learn.

      Yeah, I addressed the feathers rising and falling back in Post #91 “‘Do you think it’s possible, to some degree, to translate the experience of a close encounter with a wild animal—in this instance it was the Kyutzeymeteen Ghost Bears—into a photograph?”
      If it was easy, I think, then everybody would be doing it, and there would be upteen vidiots explaining how it works.
      A Tuff Call.
      Still your local Blackbird is allowing you to give us some wonderful insights into its life. I think we are all learning a little from the backyard experience that will carry over into the field (if) we ever get back out.


  3. What a wonderful shot and a special moment of connection.

    I find articles on “Photography Life” and elsewhere much more helpful than most of the people seeking their 15 minutes of fame on YouTube. Most seem to be much more interested in talking about themselves than in sharing any real insights.

    I have over the years learned a great deal from looking at others’ photographs on Flickr, and have found many people to be so helpful and generous in sharing their expertise when I have asked how they achieved a certain effect, or why they use certain settings. I think we have a great little community going there. And you are one of those from whom I have learned a great deal, so thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Eleanor, thank you for the kind comments. I too enjoy the Flickr community, and I think the big plus, apart from the wonderful array of photos and the way people approach subjects is the very positive approach that is made to comments.
      All photographs are worthwhile. Someone bothered enough to press the shutter.
      I too am a great fan of Nasim and the whole Photography Life group. Always one of the first places I look for really worthwhile information on technique and hardware.
      I also find I disagree with some of the findings, but that is not a bad thing, it simply means we are going in different directions.

      Always reminds me of John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, as they are yelled at by drivers because they are on the wrong side of the road, “How do they know where we’re going”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That is another amazing close up action shot David. I would wonder what you would addition info you would want to glean from others David, as the impeccable quality of your work stands alone. Yes, you guys must be sick of the lock down by now, and everything is Zoomed. I know many of my book seller clients are constantly at Zoom meetings and they are over it here in NSW, but it is much worse in your state. Praying that numbers fall sufficiently for them to lift the lock-down. Our holiday next month is uncertain at the moment as Sydney has become a scary word to many of our country towns and ACT. We find the safest way for me is to treat each day as if we are in lock-down, though my wife has to where a mask all day and wash her hands thousands of times. Keep warm under that doona while this icy blast passes through and hanging there my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ashley, I once shocked a friend by saying to her, “I don’t want to learn anything new.” I really meant it in the way of starting a new hobby or interest to the same degree that I approach photography, but she did think I was abandoning learning.
      Thanks for the kind insight and comment, but from the highly technical through to the aesthetic via camera technique, lighting, and also how we go about managing and enhancing images, I have an insatiable desire to find all I can about our craft and how to best use it in my own work. Add to that an obsession with working with birds and I guess, I’ll always be buying books, watching vidiots and scrolling through web sites for as long as I’m able.
      I try and work with at least one mentor during the year, as the interchange of ideas and different approaches helps to define my own vision.

      And to be honest, it’s fun. 🙂

      We are now halfway through the time, with 3 weeks to go. I have but little faith in there being much of an opening up, but will take every little bit offered.
      Time will tell how much we are able to move about.

      Else all good, and tomorrow, as you suggest offers so much, we just take it with both hands.


      Liked by 1 person

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