It is reported that J. R. R. Tolkein, once said, “It is a dangerous business… going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept to.”
I wonder, like dog owners, am I taking the camera for a walk, or is the camera taking me?
Some dog owners seem so detached from their dog as they walk about, I am convinced that the dog is indeed walking them.
Dogs seem to be easily distracted. A smell here, a sight there, a movement over there. All needs to be carefully examined and if time permits to be explored.
No matter how long or short a lead, a dog will always run at the limit. (Locked down bird photographers are no different)
The problem, if it is indeed a problem, of walking with a camera is that I lose track not of where I am, so much, as to time and place. A few minutes planned stroll becomes an hour or more in one location.
All sorts of shapes, and tones and picture possibilities hijack me and I am, as Chris Orwig says, “Swept away by it all” (Visual Poetry, p 208)
You can, as Elliott Erwitt once remarked, “You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply a matter of noticing things and organising them visually.”
Working with birds the ‘organising them visually’ is quite the challenge. Small birds flee, others chose to simper in the deepest of bushes, knowing that any attempt at a photograph is useless. Larger birds sulk and turn away. It’s easy to develop the ‘Oh, if only I was…” attitude.
We have after nearly 18 months been given the freedom to move about again. For some it’s a trip to the shopping mall, a coffee in a piazza, new shoes, a haircut, or a visit to an art gallery. For most of us it’s time with family and friends who’ve been similarly isolated.
So as we begin to take our first tentative steps back out into the field, so many opportunities seem to present themselves.
To quote Elliott again, “It has little to do with the things you see, and everything to do with the way you see them.”
Time to step out and enjoy the sunshine, the rain, the wind and the wonderful things that will grace our lenses.