Saturday Evening Post #111: The Almost Portfolio-Revisted

Or perhaps the subtitle, “The Ones that Never Quite Made It”.

Was revisiting a blog by Spencer Cox who wrote earlier in the year about the photos that didn’t quite make it into the portfolio.
The ones taken at the same time, same location, same subject. The one you share and are happy to show around.

And

The ones that never have a life beyond the hard-drive.

Now Spencer, to be told, shoots mainly landscape, architectural and portraits.  So on location, he is likely to make a few variations of the same subject.

For those of us who are working mostly with wildlife, and here on the blog with birds in particular, it’s not very often that we get out-takes that are so similar that we mull for hours over the choice of which one to use.
We either have it, or it’s a missed opportunity.

Sure, I can shoot a ‘bird on a stick’, and blast off 20 frames. But really, there will be so little variation that any one of the 20 will be fine. Or, we meet a moment, the action happens, and 20 more frames won’t hold that magic. It’s gone.

I’ve never been much for multi-burst. (old fashioned I guess), I never worry about the camera spec that tells how many frames I can get in the buffer before the camera stops taking shots.
Except: I do use it for some inflight shots. Mainly because I’ve got the bird in the viewfinder. If I try for single shots, I wander off the bird action very quickly.

It might be interesting to think of some of the great photographs that have been made over the years, and ponder what the ‘out-takes’ might have been like.
Steve McCurry’s Afghan Girl, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris–of the man jumping a puddle,  Galen Rowel’s Rainbow over the Potala Palace, Winter Home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lhasa, 1981.

No doubt there were several frames one side or the other that were nearly as good.

Sometimes there was only one frame. Think Frank Hurley and The Endurance trapped in the ice

or Ansel Adams, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico

Because of the time, the place, the equipment and the moment, there are no ‘out-takes’.

I once knew a photographer, who travelled the world making shots for magazine and books to demonstrate various photographic techniques.  He also shot using a specially built camera panoramic shots on huge pieces of film.
On one occasion he was visiting Australia and a trip along the obligatory Great Ocean Road was in order. Unfortunately the day he went, the weather was atrocious overcast, rain and hail.
He did setup and use the pano camera to make a shot near Loch Ard Gorge and captured all the power of the surf whipped up by the strong winds. It was really a misty interpretation.
It did however get made into a large wall-mounted print that graced the hallway of a certain multi-national company. From memory the width of the print was close to 3 metres.
Interestingly he also shot quite a large number of 35mm transparencies. And after they were returned from processing, he set up a small light box and proceeded to edit them.  Out of 36 shots to the roll, he probably kept 2 or 3. Now the cardboard rubbish box he had contained some images that I would have loved to have made.
But out they went.

Spencer talks about why one of his images made the folio, and the other(s) didn’t. It can be a matter of lighting, placement, point of view, camera settings, changes in lens or simply movement of people.  In the end. One picture has to carry the story.

There are a lot of ‘almost portfolio’ shots from our morning with the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos.
But in the end, I chose this one.
Why?
Because of the angle. Because of the wing action and because the light was over the face.  The few shots either side miss out on one or more of those elements.

And above all, for me, it is a little quirky, like the bird.

Moments: In a Class of their Own

EE and I had a week away around the Bellarine Peninsula.
We had several bird species in mind, and to get the ball rolling, Australian Gannets, were the first order of the series.
Queenscliff is the closest town to “Popes Eye”, a man-made structure, that was designed to be a gun emplacement to protect the Queenscliff fort area.  As it turned out we ran out of enemies before the emplacement was complete, and it languished as a small bluestone reef.
However the Gannets that inhabit Port Philip Bay used it as a rookery, or is that a Gannetry, and the birds patrol up and down the coast from their home.

You can actually watch them on-line at Reef Cam, on this link

For us, working the shoreline, things such as the weather, wind, tides and fish all work for, or against, and in the few hours we had in the rain, it was, well, against.
Score, John Wayne 0 Gannets 1.

Queenscliff was a very important tourist destination in the late  19th century, and to help set the olde worlde them the parks and foreshores were planted with exta-ordinary  stands of pine and cypress.

In the early part of the year these all produce loads of pine-cones, all rich, green and fresh.  A regular takeaway for Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos.
With their highly distinctive call, and family disposition, they can be followed around town as they help themselves to the best of the ‘cones.

Again we managed an overcast day, and had difficulty really getting the rich colours, but we were able to keep the contrast a little under control, so wins all round.
John Wayne 20, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, 50+

Our third target was the Latham’s Snipe at Lake Lorne, so next week, I’ll  explore that area.

Enjoy

Hello Cocky!
Incoming

Feeding Young. Like all cockatoos and parrots this is accomplished with a lot of noise and wing-flapping

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Takeaway Food

An easy day out

Friend of mine once said in conversation as we chatted about my time in the bush,  “Bird photography is pretty easy, you just sit in a deckchair and photograph any birds that happen to come by.”  And today, for once, he was right. Thanks for the advice John.

Mr An Onymous had looked at the weather maps, the weather forecasts, the icon ladies and I guess in the end, just plain looked out the window, and declared we should take a trip to Point Cook Coastal Park on Friday.  Sounded good as we’d not been out that way since the end of the Flame Robin season, most of the birds were well on their way back by mid of September.

Meet you down there, and so we did.

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Finding Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos

To be honest, we were just out for the sun, and the afternoon walk.
We had taken the road to The Office, and it was still a quagmire.  But at least passable, so we pressed on. And just as well we did. As “Bernie” the Brown Falcon, and “Bernice” were on display in the paddocks.  I’d say that they definitely have family matters on the agenda, and it was nice to be able to see them sitting together, and do a few slow laps over the tree tops.  Not the usual fast cutting run of a falcon on a mission.

 

 

We ambled up to the mansion, and as we settled with the ducks, a Great Egret, and a cuppa of the good Earl of Grey, it I thought I heard the loud noises of some cockatoos in the distance.  And within a few minutes, several Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos slipped through the trees.

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