Saturday Evening Post#172 : Story Tailoring

Another week that the weather has controlled.

EE said the other day, “This is the first time in the 8 years since we’ve moved that I can recall being so hot. Almost to the point of not being able to breath.”
Needless to say we’ve not be out doing much fieldwork, and when we did venture out one morning, we found the birds were pretty much on to the same thing.  Stay quietly out of the heat.

But then in the same breath, EE tells me she saw 4 Latham’s Snipe on the local David Creek on her early morning walk.
Then.  It rained.
So the old Doona Hermit has been cuddled up following the occasional blog and equipment report.

One writer I follow, Dan Milnor, recently wrote about “Documentary Photography”.   Not a new concept, I agree. He roughly defines it as, ” Basic, Accurate representation of people, places, object and events.”  Adding “Of significant or relevant history.”
That is the challenge for photo-journalists.  Do you tell an unbiased story, or… does even recording it from your viewpoint carry a bias.
Dorothea Lange’s Dustbowl images are more than just a ‘record’.  W. Eugene Smith’ s Minamata campaign was much more than a record of some dodgy Aluminium smelter.
The harrowing pic of the young girl running from napalm by Nick Ut, can hardly be thought of a just a record.  Perhaps it is the defining image of the change of attitude to the Vietnam War.

Australian Press Photography Walkley Awards have shown some work that is far more than just a record, and Matthew Abbot the 2020 winner is a great example.  More than just the event

Don points out some of the skills needed for Documentary Photography. Essential traits like, Patience, Focus, Curiosity, Perseverance, Empathy and Determination.

And Story-telling.

A fundamental question he says needs asking, “What do you love?”  Photograph it.
It’s not just a habit, or an occasional adventure.  It is an obsession! I read somewhere a long time ago about a preacher who said something like, “Woe is me if I don’t preach.”

We work with small numbers of birds.  Most never allow us to become ‘friends’.  However from time to time we might find a bird, or a pair that are ready to tolerate our presence, and at some stage the thin strand becomes a rope. (Jon Young) and we are able to enter their world at a little more intimate level.  Then the season changes. And they are gone.

When we are given such a privilege, we work hard to make the best work we possibly can. There may not be a next time.

This pair of Willie Wagtails have now successfully completed their clutch.  We found the nest on a branch overlooking a well-used walking track.  Willie, instead of being ‘furtive’ about the nest built it out in the open.  No protection.  Perhaps the bird logic is that being in the open, it would be overlooked by predators.
She had also chosen a spot with some great foundations.  The branch had four seperate branchlets coming from it, and she had built in the middle.  A solid and secure base.  One of the better wagtail nests we find.

The young were a close to flying, but Mum was ready to ‘sit’ and protect them as we walked past.   One of the young wanted to know what was going on, and poked its head up from under Mum’s protective feathers.

They flew the next day.