A Little Visit: Stop Picking on Me!

At the Point Cook Coastal Park, there is pair of Black Swans that are always together, and almost always distinguishable from others in the area because of their behaviour together.

I was casually watching them, as they don’t do much really, just swan about together.
When on a sudden one of them arched up from the middle and sort of jumped up out of the water.  Curious, but it quickly settled down again.
A few seconds later it did the same thing, and then a Little Pied Cormorant popped up out of the water along side it. The swan took a swing at the cormorant and it quickly submerged.

Then, the swan arched up again, and I figured out the cormorant must have been hitting or poking it underneath.
This time it was a bit too much for the swan, and it gave chase to the cormorant.  And again it submerged and the swan gave another start, and the process repeated.

Perhaps the cormorant was gaining some underwater advantage from the bulk of the swan, or perhaps their movement stirred up the waters and the creatures.

Eventually tiring of it all the cormorant swam off, while the pair of swans went back to ‘swanning about’.

Enjoy

Saturday Evening Post #133 :Bell Like

I had the opportunity the other day to go to a presentation by an acquaintance, (not a close friend).  It was among her first out-in-the-open, in front of people, speaking assignments.

It has been said that if asked to speak in front of people, over 70% will say, “No, not me, I’d die if I had to  speak in public.”  I once saw that equated to the fact that at a funeral 7 out of 10 would rather be IN the coffin than, delivering the Eulogy. 🙂

With the inevitable, pauses, loss of thought chain, mixed up notes, nervous hair rearranging and the odd apology, she kept going and the ‘ordeal’ was over.
And do you know what? She’ll get better.
In a couple of years, should she have to speak to the same group, it will be a fully polished professional presentation. Full of confidence, because apart from the learning, she believes in the topic at hand. So much that the struggles will be forgotten—not erased, just no longer daunting.  The one thing we took away was her sincerity.

It has also been said, and attributed to several sources, that

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”,

Some sources wrongly attributing Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching add.

“When  the student is Fully ready, the teacher will disappear.’

And so for my new-speaking friend, the struggle to hold an audience will disappear and the message will be bright, clear and unhindered. How cool is that.

As I sat listening, I was drawn to the idea that no matter the art form, and photography is one such form, we want to uncover the techniques, the knowledge, and the craft, that will best resonate with our vision.
So we search.

And our experiences strike us, (as Deng Ming Dao says, “… like a stick hitting a bell and we learn about ourselves.”), like an experiment.  Education comes from the results of that experiment.

With so many creative photographic possibilities, it’s always an adventure behind the camera. Each experiment holds a chance to hear the clear ring of the bell.

Keep takin’ pictures.  We do.

From the Field Notes: So Near, Yet… So Far

No doubt we all have a few photo goals that always seem to be just out there beyond reach.

One for me, and it will never be achieved is to photograph the great white horses of the Camargue, in France

Another would be a week or more with the awesome richly coloured Brahminy Kites, from a high clifftop area.  I might yet make this one.

And yet another is to capture Great Crested Grebe and their ‘reed dance’.  We have at the Jawbone Reserve two pairs at present, and they have had several good nestings so far this season. However the luck of the dance, is it’s just a bit too far from home for me to spend more than an occasional visit, so the chances are somewhat diminished.
Mr An Onymous and I had taken #kneetoo for a visit there one early morning as  treat before she goes to visit Mr Slice-n-Dice next week.

I featured the young from their most recent hatching in the previous post, so we did have a good visit.
Time to go as #kneetoo was feeling the pain.

When on a sudden, from way down the lake one of the pair came swimming down to meet its mate. Both immediately dropped their heads to the water in a greeting and turned toward each other.
Then the head crest and facial mask outstretched, so it was more than a casual greeting they were a bit more than pleased to see each other.

The closer they approached the more the crest and masked displayed and finally they were alongside one another and swayed and turned in unison, like a pair of ballerinas.
I held my breath.
They may being going to dance!!

More head waving, calling and circling.
Then, to my dismay, the crests dropped, the facial mask retracted, they turned about, and slowly swam away together into the reeds.

Opportunity over.   Near.  But… So Far.
Perhaps next time.

If you are interested in the craft of photographing Great Crested Grebes, I normally don’t do video plugs for Youtube, but Mike Lane is an exception. (he is 89 years old for a starter), and he offers some fine techniques that can be applied to working with other water birds.
Enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBzBXuvnv9Q

Saturday Evening Post #132 : The Great Romance

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
Attributed to Albert Einstein

Writers rely on keeping a notebook.  It gets filled with story or article ideas, and scraps of ideas.  Artists keep a notebook filled with small detail sketches, ideas for design and musings. Musicians also have a book in which words for songs, riffs and other musical factoids wait to be turned into the next great composition.

Photographers that I trained with keep, “Day Books”. A detailed set of instructions of how to light a subject, names and addresses, snippets of an idea for the next shoot, calculations of various lens/aperture combos.

I used to have, (somehow lost in all the transitions) the last day book of one of my mentors, (Probably one of the best Black and White printers of his day—Well at least I thought so).

All sorts of goodies were in there, here’s one “Bellows Extension Factors” :-).  How much chemical to put in a certain developing solution.  Bring home 2 bananas, a loaf of bread and a jar of plum jam, etc.  You get the drift.

We also take a photo, move angle, subject, lighting, come back another day, all part of the collecting of visual notes. Sifting through those ideas surely has helped to prepare for the right moment.

A photographer who published 15 years of his day books is Edward Weston.  Too expensive to own, and I’ve only ever seen one volume, in a library.  Here is a site that shows some of his work.  Caution there are some quite explicit images among them. Edward Weston Gallery

These days as a blogger, I keep notes all over the place.  Some electronic, clipped from web pages, snapped out of books, handwritten in a note app. Also still use the old standard, Moleskine A5 book, and somewhere a Spirax  wire bound student book. And the odd stickit note or two.

Here’s a couple that struck me the past week or so.

Vision: As photographers we are image seekers, and taking that view, life becomes one great romance, an amazing opportunity and journey to see marvellous things all the time.

Expectation: I go out expecting to see greater things, find new opportunities for visuals and experience fortuitous moments. It should bring a freshness and zest to my times behind the camera.

And so it was that #kneetoo and I found ourselves in the sunshine with a family of recently arrived Flame Robins at the Point Cook Coastal Park.

This busy young lady was hunting off the fence line.  The birds at Point Cook, as at the Office, use the fence lines as there is little available perching space otherwise.  This is open grasslands. Shrubs and bushes are non-existent. And the good people of  Parks Vic have kindly mown the grassy verges around the fences providing an ideal hunting area for the robins.  Not wonder they love it.

She jumped onto the post, and it struck me to move a little further along the fence and use a distant pine tree as a rich dark backdrop, and then I spotted the highlight of sky between the branches.

Looking for such visual occurrences, is indeed a great romance.

Enjoy