Saturday Evening Post# 192: The Journey, Not the Destination

David duChemin of Craft and Vision sent out an interesting update recently.

One of the things that intrigued me was the question of “What you would tell your younger self about the craft of photography he is embarking on” Now I know from an Uncle Google search that those sorts of questions and answers are spread all over the web, like those little bits of microplastic in the ocean.

And. I know that the 14 year old kid with the Super Balda camera and a roll of Ilford FP3 film would take little notice anyway. For a start off, photography as a career would not have had any notion or meaning. Nor, am I sad to relate, among the people and teachers of the time, would there have been any encouragement to pursue such thoughts. The closest I ever got was the local librarian who had assembled a fine collection of photo books by the masters. Perhaps I should have been more bold to talk with her about the choices. And also I must add, the patience of the local chemist that put up with my kid-in-a-lollyshop approach to buying photo-supplies from him—more, I fear of that story must follow 🙂


And anyway photography was a kind of like riding a bike, or bouncing a ball, it just happened as part of life. Bit like stamp collecting. You did it for awhile and then something else, flying kites perhaps, came along.

So I’d not have lectured said lad on the wonders of depth of field, or the charm of Chiaroscuro lighting. Nor would I have wasted the moment explaining how to ‘get ahead’ in a dog-eat-dog world of photo imaging. Nor would I have added, “Take up war photography, not weddings. It’s safer.”
And I’d not be inclined to mention who to avoid like the Robot in “Lost In Space”—Warning, Warning, Danger Approaching.
And of course I’d not bother to add why it would be necessary to learn the same hard lessons over and over again in terms of relationships with people.

My one piece,I think, would be, “Enjoy the Journey, don’t worry about the Destination”.


It’s been quite a three weeks of dreadful weather. Talk about Doona Hermit. So we decided the other morning, that a run to see how the Point Cook Black-shouldered Kites were travelling. We have three pairs of birds that began nests in the past few weeks, but the Point Cook birds would have likely flown. And.
They did.

It’s a funny thing about the ‘Enjoy the Journey” advice. It works. We were pleased to see the young kites well on the way to adulthood, but, the wretched weather beat us. Grey kite on grey sky is not a good look. Add rain, and cold wind, and well, coffee shop is the option.
Yet. As we began to drive out, I heard the familar call of the Brown Falcons, and so we stopped to have a look, and sure enough, Cassia of Cinnamon’s rather dapper white-chested male, had come in with a snack for her approval. By the time iAmGrey was parked and the doors were open, it was all over, so we followed them through the trees to where she had finished whatever delicacy had been offered.
Then she took off through the treeline.
I rather like this image as she is running on short wings as there is little room to manoeuvre through the trees. And we proudly drove away, happy that the pair were still in residence, and he was beginning the process of feeding her up for a nesting later in the year.
A new journey is just beginning.

Too much fun in the rain.

Saturday Evening Post #191: Photos that Make a Difference

There would be few people who lived through the Vietnam War years that would have not seen the photo of “The Napalm Girl”. And perhaps only a few would know of the name of the girl, or of the photographer who took the picture.

June 8, 1971, Nick Ut was on assignment for Associated Press near the village of Trang Bang. What happened next is well covered by pages all over the web and doesn’t need me to reblog it here.
I have thought long about bringing up the topic, but what I wanted to stress was the compassion of Nick toward the badly burned Kim Phuc.
Again his words are so much more profound than mine, but he managed to get the young girl to hospital and then transferred to a burns unit, and stayed to make sure she was well looked after.

Many have said it was one of the defining images of the war that helped turn the tide of support to bring the war to an end. Nick won a Pulitzer Prize for the photo, Horst Faas, the editor at AP ran the story, breaking a number of rules about nudity and content, but believed the story must be told.

So 50 years on here are several links to the story of the horror of Kim Phuc and the compassion of one man, determined to make a difference.

This one turned up on the ABC news site this morning and has a small video clip of Kim Phuc and Nick Ut reunion.

A more indepth article by Nick Ut from the Washington Post and it shows how he stayed in touch with her over the years.

And another from Joe McNally of a 40th anniversary shoot with Kim and her new baby. (I know I’ve linked to this in a previous blog, so apologise if you’ve seen it before.)

Kim started a Foundation dedicated to Healing Children of War and here is the site

I’ve chosen not to include a photograph for this blog page.
Some things pale into insignificance.

Speaking with kindness creates confidence,
thinking with kindness creates profoundness,
giving with kindness creates love.
Lao Tzu

Saturday Evening Post #190: Knockin’ Off for the Weekend

Welcome to a little bit of stream of consciousness

We were having a discussion about when a freelance photo-assignment is completed. Perhaps it’s an event, or a get-together, or maybe even a sporting event.

How do you know when to stop, and leave?

So we followed the options, well at least as many as we could think of. Perhaps the time to stop shooting is when the main action is over. The keynote speaker has left the building, the team has gone to the sheds, the family matriarch has gone home. The bride and groom have left for the honeymoon.
Or are there still more photos to be made of the people cleaning up, the packing and load-out, the security going about locking-up the doors, and maybe the last lights being turned off.

I ventured that another option would be to, “Knock-off, and get home in time for dinner”.
What do you mean, Knock-off?

Colloquialisms don’t travel well down the years or across cultures. I grew up in a farming and building community. Knock-off time was the description of ceasing work. Like “Striking a Blow” was getting started.

But, then we started to see other possibilities.

F’instance. The painting was a good Knock-off of the original. Meaning someone had made a pretty good copy.

Or how about, the soldier who was explaining his lack of some kit items, by responding, “Well someone must have Knocked it Off.” Meaning it had been stolen.

He was Knocked-Off his perch. Meaning that his status had changed as in Scomo was Knocked Off his Perch.

Then for the pedants: The new camera was accidentally knocked off the table onto the floor and destroyed the lens. Well, we all hope that never happens. 🙂

Some meanings come, of course, directly from movie sources as in, “Let’s Knock-off the so and so”, meaning to kill them.

Must be time to Knock-off a cuppa tea. Meaning a tea break. Or it’s so hot I could Knock-off a beer.

and off course a good one to finish. Knock it off, we’ve had enough.

Bet we missed a few.

And on that note, I think I’ll just Knock-off for the weekend. Seeya next week.

Saturday Evening Post #189: All I Need.

I have as many will be aware working a lot with Black and White, or Monochromatic images recently.
In somewhat a return to beginnings.
My very first attempts at photography were with a 127 size film camera and making contact prints from each negative individually, at first, in the family laundry under the glow of weak orange light. It’s hard to know if my somewhat blurry images of Blackie, the Cat could be seen as anything more than a waste of pocket money. 🙂

But I persisted, and as I did I learned something of the craft of photography by osmosis from books at my local library.

Here I learned of the work of a Sydney based photographer, Max Dupain. Most will have seen a version of his “Sunbaker” image. But Max was a much more influential artist.
There are plenty of sites that delve into his life, history and art, so I won’t belabour that.
He stood, against, in the 1930s the ‘pictorialists’. The blurry, hazy interpretations of people, landscape, architecture and more. He set a course of drama, clarity and importance of tone, shape and design..

You can flick through a range of his images on the web and conclude, “Oh, I’ve seen that before, or made shots just like that of the same subject.”
But Max did it first.

Some sites worth checking out to see his work.

7 Works

Light and Shadow

Sydney Opera House Construction

I remember acquiring for my Father a copy of a Max Dupain series calendar around 1989. My Father’s own work was in someways contemporaneous with Max. We did spend a few hours occasionally discussing the photos on that calendar.

Max did not travel the world, preferring his own home locations, but I remember a print with rich black tones of “Lunchtime in Hobart” and a similar one of “Collins Street, Melbourne“.
Another fine series is the “Shark Tower at Manly
and from that tower several images of the surf running on Manly Beach. and “Lifesavers

Max once wrote that if his work was to have any significance,:

” It has to be devoted to that place where I have been born, reared and worked, thought, philosophised and made pictures to the best of my ability. And. That is all I need. “

So it has been from that background that I’ve been been working in Mono of late. Not taking a preexisting image and using the amazing effects of Nik Silver EFx Pro, but rather looking for shape, tone, texture and design but rather seeking out images that have the qualities of a great Mono shot. I have been using the Monochrome setting in-camera, (and yes, they are JPEG), and once again experimenting with the use of inbuilt colour filtration to increase, or decrease a range of tones.

When I saw Bronson sitting in an open area against a clear blue sky, I was already seeing the final result. I have published a version of this shot on Flickr. I had opened up the shadows and brightened up the sky, but my first choice was as it came from camera.

Enjoy.

Saturday Evening Post# 188: Elusive

There is so much about photography that is elusive. Sometimes like Eastern Spinebills, it is the subject. Our friend Rodger has been photographing them at Royal Park with varying degrees of success and as we were in the area we decided to go have a looksee.

After several hours it was sad to conclude that they would remain elusive. 🙂
We did manage a brief glimpse of one that came by, settled on a branch, and frustratingly was surrounded by small twigs and branchlets.

But.

We did see one.

I’ve only just received back from repair my 300mm f/4 PF lens. It is a great little lens to be walking about with and, as here, I use it almost exclusively with the teleconverter TC 1.4 which gives me a fine 420mm focal length.

This one I’ve owned since the get go. I received one of the first of the lenses in Australia. The dealer could only get an allocation of one lens. It’s been one of my go-to lenses for birds ever since. It does have a software issue with the D810 and vibration reduction settings, but as I’ve retired that camera it is no longer a concern. EE uses one and it never comes off her D500. That lens I’ve always thought has a little more highkey contrast than mine. Not much, but just noticeable if we shoot side by side.

Earlier this year mine started to look a little soft and rendering fine detail and feather markings became a problem. It came to head when I was working with a Little Egret that had some fine breeding plumage feathers and they all looked doubled-edged and soft. Strange. So began the usual: check focus accuracy, suspect the camera, increase contrast in the camera and turn off first one setting then another.

But to now avail. Then one morning when I was going to try again, I picked the lens up and it had a distinct rattle. ???
Seems that one or more of the glass elements had worked loose. The local authorised repair centre was about to close its doors and it seemed that I’d have to send the lens to Nikon Techs in Sydney. I managed to find a repair centre in Adelaide. DigiCam seemed to have some very good reviews, and I filled out a form on line, and the following day received details of how to ship the lens. It went the following day with their arranged courier.

DigiCam came back quickly with an initial report and it seems that several retaining rings had worked loose and needed replacement.
Yes Please!

They kept me updated regularly on the progress, the need to order parts, and the likely turn around time. Great to have a good story to tell.

And about three weeks later the lens was returned looking very fine. They had even replaced a damaged element (which I have to say I put my hand up as culprit), so what I had was pretty much new out-of-the-box. Given all this happened over the Easter break, it was a super quick turnaround.

Tentative first test on the tv antenna across the road showed it looked as good as ever.
Now that it has had several trips to the bush, and made some special images I must say that DigiCam have won me as a customer and I’m delighted to tell the story of exceptional service.

Now all I need is to find some more Spinebills to work with.

Enjoy
(From the Election Free Zone)

Saturday Evening Post #187: In Heartbeats

There is, a thought where, to paraphrase Kahil Gibran, “You and the Subject are One: The Difference is in Heartbeats.”

There can be no doubt that photographing birds can be a somewhat hit and miss affair.
Not every bird is ready for its space to be invaded by a stumbling human with a long lens attached to a camera, no matter what the good intentions.
Some birds never allow close approaches. Yet on rare occasions for their own reasons will swing in close and the heartbeats somehow synchronise for a few brief moments.

A couple of Hobbys (Not sure if they are a pair or perhaps siblings from a recent nesting) were working over the treelines. It was easy to follow their progress as the agitated calls of White-plumed and New Holland Honeyeaters announced their travel through the treelines.

One of the pair stopped long enough perhaps to appraise the situation and take stock of the next opportunity. This bird swung in over the top and the first bird abandoned the perch.

This moment shows the second bird balancing its landing and slowly folding up the wings in preparation for also taking its own survey.
Did it know I was there? Of course. But for just a few moments our heartbeats aligned.
A quick look around, and satisfied there was little to eat in the area, it was off across the paddock at full tilt. Gone was the heartbeat moment.

Saturday Evening Post #186 : Seeing is Believing

I had some comments last post about the “Valley of the Shadow of Death”, by Fenton.
The whole truth in media becomes quite apparent when the historian looks at the two images and has to decide which is the accurate and which is the staged version.

Perhaps Rodger Fenton was the first of a long line of photo-journalists that have sought to tell the power of the story with the help of the image being a representation of the event rather than a simple photo reproduction from the moment.

Frank Hurley, the Australian photographer who accompanied E.Shackleton on the ill-fated “Endurance” expedition to the Antarctic also ‘dabbled’ with the moment. It is still hard to explain how he achieved the seemingly night time shot of the Endurance in the Ice. His diary indicates the use of many flashes and the difficulty of making the exposure.

Later Hurley would become a war photographer and many of his images, again, drive historians crazy. He made no bones about making double images, multiple printing techniques and montages. His famous shot of the rescue boat departing for help, is most likely the rescue party returning.

The images of soldiers on the way to the front is thought to be a reversed negative print.

And the one that really gets discussion going is the amazing moment of trench warfare with aircraft, shells exploding and troops advancing seemingly under fire.

Hurley openly stated it to be a multiple printed montage.
In the end he found,
Oct. 1, 1917. Our Authorities here will not permit me to pose any pictures or indulge in any original means to secure them. They will not allow composite printing of any description, even though such be accurately titled nor will they permit clouds to be inserted in a picture.

As this absolutely takes all possibilities of producing pictures from me, I have decided to tender my resignation at once. I conscientiously consider it but right to illustrate to the public the things our fellows do and how war is conducted. These can only be got by printing a result from a number of negatives or reenactment
A good selection of images is here.

Fast forward to Steve McCurry, he of the Afghan girl portrait on the cover of National Geographic. Steve’s later work was found to have ‘Photoshopped” in or out details of some stories and the furore of the net knew no bounds. So much so that he changed his style of photography to account for such story telling rather than image straight from camera. See one of many articles here

Many years back a well known soup manufacturer got into a boil over about marketing shots of its ‘famous’ Farmstyle Vegetable Soup that was ‘packed’ with vegetables. The photograph did in fact show a lovely warm inviting bowl of soup with the veggies all piled high out of the liquid.

However when it was prepared straight from the can, as per the instructions, the hapless cook was greeted with a bowl of liquid with a scant number of veggies sinking to the bottom of the bowl. The clever photographer had filled the studio bowl with glass marbles, and then scooped the veggies over the top and then slowly added just enough liquid to hide the marbles.

And let’s not forget any of the fast-food chains. The chances of getting a burger that resembles the bright crisp item in the photo display is minimal. Again the net is awash with dissatisfied consumers.

So it must be asked if I make some changes to an image, how much is legitimate. Now I’m not talking about Photoshopping Uncle Fred’s face into a daffodil, I’m hoping we are over that.

I’ve been working on some shots the past few weeks making Black and White portraits from a range of photos. I do it because I like the end result. If I share one, it is noticeable as after-all the creature has colour.

I’m not asking the viewer to suspend their credibility or influencing the understanding of the subject. Rather inviting them to explore the nuances of tone, shape, texture and from in a new way.

Perhaps the old adage from the Furphy Watertanker:

Good, better, best
Never let it rest,
Until your good is better,
And your better is best.

Is still a good working motto.

Enjoy.

Saturday Evening Post #184: Less is More

More or less. 🙂
Much of the advice regarding storing digital ‘assets’ almost since the beginning of digital photography has been something like, Well its cheap to make digital photos as you don’t have to buy film so take as many as possible.
The corollary to that advice was keep them all, disk space is cheap, and you never know when you might need one of them. Or, like high quality wine, they will improve with age on the disk.

So, I guess we have to admit. We did.

Recent weeks I seem to have been ‘enlightened’ on blogs and newsletters, by those same experts with a new mantra. (Perhaps they forgot their old advice or needed to trot out something new)

It follows roughly similar calls, to “learn to curate you photos- delete the ones you won’t use. Choose the best ones and work with those.”

While the “shoot lots and keep all”, was a good idea when digital files were small—the first ones I made were 750kb each! (Think how many I could get on a 1 megabyte card) today’s high res, high pixel count files in raw can be as much as 65mb or each. It quickly begins to build up terabytes of files, most of which will never see the light of day.

I have to say, (mostly) I tend to edit hard after a shoot. Comes from the old days of filum I guess. Out of a roll of 36 exposures, I didn’t want to sit in the darkroom and print every one to figure which were the keepers. Make a quick Contact Print. Mark with Chinagraph pencil. Print the best. Reject the rest.

I could also argue that most of the social media sites promote poor to average photography as being ‘normal’, but not tonight.

If I do about 250 shots in a day’s outing, by the time I get home I’ll edit them down to about 20 or so useable. Then I need about 8-10 for Flickr, 1 for this blog and several for a book project and perhaps a photo-story here on the blog.
For completeness I usually know in advance which shots I want for a story anyway as I’ll have tried to assemble much of that in the field.
Now if I do 3 field trips a week, that is about 60 or so images.

If I stuck with the old mantra, that would be around 700 images I’d need to store a week. A month, it’s 3000 (boy scout math), by the end of the year—36,000 images. (Not bad for a years work). Ten years? Oh, no wonder I need a new 8tb drive this year.

Ansel Adams is reported to have said, “Twelve good images a year is an excellent crop”.

So the new advice seems to be—edit.

The other hidden advice in all that is of course the ability now to run off, for fun, as many as 20 or more shots in a second. Then spend anguished hours on the computer trying to find the best one. The software doesn’t help either as it allows the shots to be ‘Stacked’ so that you only get to see the best one, and 19 languish in the ether, never to be seen again.
Or, and I put tongue-firmly-in-cheek, just post them all and let the viewer decide!!
One ‘guru’ recently claimed to have returned from a workshop trip with over 30,000 shots. And aren’t I glad I’m not getting an invite around for that slide show!

For those of us who do lots of inflight shots, and I have to admit to leaning more and more that way in my own work, the chance of a multi-burst gives us a range of wing, head, body, lighting and expression to chose from.
And just sayin’ for my own work, if its not ‘That’ shot. Then the remainder get deleted.
I’m looking for “… an excellent crop”

Knowing how the bird is going to react is also a huge part of the inflight learning process. This young Kite was ready to go and join its siblings hunting over the grasses in the late afternoon light.

It turned on the branch, I held my breath, and then it simply launched into space. It was heading straight down the barrel of the lens. 🙂

I paused, and as its face came into the light, pressed the shutter.
Less- is more.



Saturday Evening Post #183: …Worth a Thousand Words

A motif we all have a nodding agreement with.

Perhaps first used by an adversting man in the United States as early as 1911. Arthur Brisbane is reported to have said, “Use a picture it’s worth a thouand words.” However even that might not be the orgin, earlier Leonardo Da Vinci has expressed the thought that an artist could depict in an instant—what a writer would wrestle with overnight.

I don’t have a lot of wall space to hang photos, so any image I make that deserves to be printed and considered for a space on the wall comes from a file that is titled “The Signature Series.”

My first Signature print goes back nearly half a century. So this one is in good company

 

Saturday Evening Post #182 : Continuation

Life is an infinite continuation
Deng Ming-Tao

Sounds like stating the obvious really. The sky is blue, the sun has set. Grass grows.
He goes on to say, that as you come to the end of one cycle, a new one will begin. Fulfilling a cycle means completion. Yet new horizons are always there, with each turn of the wheel you go further. With each turn of the wheel comes continuation.
Celebrate every turning, And perservere with joy.

As an aside there is a Qigong sequence called, “Turning the Big Wheel”, first to the left then to the right.
Some things can be instructive beyond their normal course.

Just as the three young Black-shouldered Kites have reached the end of their training and are moving on to make their own lives, we watched them go, a bit like parents whose children have left home for the first time. And with a feeling of completion of that chapter. My photo library says that over the past three months we’ve made some 26 trips to work with them.

We had spent the morning searching the tree-line and the open paddocks for a glimpe, but they are now independant of the male feeding them, and he has not been around with handouts for nearly a week. He might still flyover but they knew that he was no longer on Uber service.

Finally we spotted one far away across the highway and perched. Then watched as it hunted and successfully carried its prize back to a tree.
It was time for us to move on too.

I blogged about this time last year of the arrival of the Flame Robins at Point Cook Park, and we decided to continue on down there and as we hadn’t been in the area for many weeks, wondering what might have changed.


It was very quiet.
Last season was a disaster, just like the one before, as covid restrictions for most of the time kept us house-bound for the season(s)

We waked down to see Cassia, of Cinnamon, but she wasn’t too keen on visitors and took off across the paddock avoiding a squadron of agile magpies.

Then, a Red Flash. And Another!

They were indeed back. A quite large family of Flame Robins. Eventually we spotted three males and several females and at least two juvenile males. So they have had a good season. The year before they arrived looking a bit exhausted after their summer season. But this time each of them seemed resplendant in their winter dress and highly active.
It is interesting to see them working in the forest, but out in the open fields like Point Cook, they behave a little differently. Having flown over 100km to get here, 500m down the paddock is nothing really, and they are constantly on the move. However like in the forest settings they seem to follow a set pattern, and while it takes a few sessions to learn the cycle, getting ahead of them and waiting is still our preferred method. It is a case of, if we sit they should come.

So as our season with the Kites ends, it looks like a rich season with the Robins might be opening up.

In the end, the wheel turns—indeed continuation.

Saturday Evening Post #181 : Exposure

We all did it.
Every budding beginner photographer gets excited about a subject, then, struggles with the technicalites of making the image.

In dayhs of yore, we’d take the camera out of the box, and pour over the instruction book, looking for that gem that would help make a correct exposure. These days the first thing to do is Google for a vid by an outspoken ‘expert’ opinion (OEO) on the right way to set the camera up, how to rotate all the dials and what settings are best. And don’t we all want to use Manual Exposure and have beautiful bokeh.
The thing I find with the outspokenexpert is that rarely do we get to see any of their work, not the stuff they shoot for some test or other, but real work—but that is an aside.

Then we ponder what is the best way to determine the exposure. Spot? Centre-weight? Overall? Matrix? Does it make a difference? Now it’s my outspoken-expert-opinion (OEO) that the camera manufacturer wants you to be able to get good exposures. Not too dark, not too light, the Goldilocks effect. After all it’s to their advantage for you to tell everybody, “Oh my LTZ7132ii is getting great exposures every time”, in the hope others too will rush out to buy the LTZ7133iii update.

Then, we wrestle with light. At first we just thought, oh, well, there is light. Enough, or not enough. But tricky stuff that it is, and so essential to our craft, it comes from in front, above, behind, to the left or right, below or even subdued and filtered through, and sometimes it hides behind grey porridge clouds. Tai Chi it is said has 13 movements. Lighting near matches that.

Then there is the lens and all that silly aperture stuff: f/2.8, 4, 5.6 Why not 1, 2 3, or small medium and large?

So what is the right exposure? And so we resort to more vids and OEO, all the time wondering why our photos, are not…just so.

Like all training: football, tennis, piano or Tai Chi, the magic slowly begins to show through.
Exposure: Not correct, not under or over.

But!

From the Heart.

Saturday Evening Post #180 : Location, Location

Hopefully by the time you read this, we will be in Ballarat for the weekend.  Big family shindig.

Deng Ming-Doa has a seveal lines of poetry about location.

Just by choosing where you stand
You alter your destiny.

Now, I suppose, from a western thought process it can be a bit too literal. As in where you live, where you stand polictally, how you see the world about you.
Yet, it has been my experience that if you change where you live, life doesn’t radically change.

Yet at another level, each choice we make does alter and affect how we live. Same for photography.

Which camera?   If I make a change of brand, will my work improve, 10%? 25%? perhaps 50%?  Or will I just have more fun playing with the new toys?

As  Deng goes on to write,  “there are no double-blind studies on my life”. Each choice I make be it lens, or camera, location, subject, lighting, or time of day brings with it its own magic.   Each study of we take is of course a choice of so many options.

The delight is being there and seeing it all unfold, and having the vision to bring it to share.

I had been waiting for this female Australian Shelduck,(Formerly Moutain Duck), to follow her mate as he took off to the other side of the pond. I suppose I expected the usual,  head out, wings up.
But my location on ground gave me a new view of this lovely duck in action

 

Saturday Evening Post #179: In the Blink of an Eye

Well it could be the blink of an eye, but perhaps a better descriptor would be the instant between the Nikon D500 mirror going up. And then… Coming down.

I was having a little portrait session with two of the young Black-shouldered Kites. They had been spending the morning gaining skills at working on the ground and in the long grass. Not yet able to ‘hunt’ but at least getting familiar with the process.
I had been moving about a little around the tree they were encamped in, looking to get the best from the backdrop.

So here is a bit bit of a departure from Saturday Evenning Post style of one photo, and a bit of rambling about the virtues of great photography and more a doco on the few milli-seconds between one event and the next.

Let’s settle down for a small portrait session.
What was that noise! One of the young birds is on the alert that something is happening
Suddenly, out of nowhere, and this shot is just after the shot above, the Collared Sparrowhawk barrelled through the treeline and put the young birds to wing. You can just see a tail disappearing at the top. The speed and stealth of the Sparrowhawk was so typical, and so impressive. That the Sparrowhawk is in focus is only because it now occupied where there kites had been sitting. Your erstwhile scribe was as surprised as could be when I reviewed the results and found one sharp frame.
Looking a bit perplexed as to what just happened, each of the young seemed unsure how to respond
Dad turned up to try and protect the young, and one of them followed him around very closely. To add to the drama a Black Kite and its two Magpie Attendants, also flew through the area. The male is checking to see if they pose any threat to his charges.
This one decided that if you were going to rest, then do so in the top of the tree among the leaves so a sneak attack would be less likely.

Saturday Evening Post #178: Studio Werkz

Some long time readers will remember the story of the ill-fated Studio Werkz project. The brainchild of several photographers as we wrestled early in our ‘careers’ to establish a multi-facted studio operation. Like many ‘great’ ideas the cold hard light of day came crashing in with reality and of course we all went on to follow our different paths.

But I’ve always liked the name, and often when the light is right, the subject working and the muse is bubbling along Studio Werkz comes to mind.

Such was the case the other morning working with the recently fledged Black-shouldered Kites. I was working with a polarising filter attached to the 500mm lens and the birds were pretty much on the very important angle of polarising light and it kept the sky rich and bought out the details of the feathers.

Front light is one of my fav lights for working with bird, and infact any colourful subject. What I lose in drama I make up for in rich detail and intense colour and the polar screen only enhances that.

I also came across the other day on the Topaz Labs Software site a link to one of their blog posts on “5 Tips for Amazing Wildlife Photos” by Bill Maynard.
We all know this stuff (I hope), but Bill’s points are quite succinct and his reasons for each is well shown.
I hope provides some good thinking about the photos we make as we wrestle to bring out the best of the character of our feathered subject(s)

(Be careful as its on the Topaz site, so the Topaz software will be featured-but I’m not in the business of recommending it, so just read over that if necessary)