Thursday, 2 December 2010

Best laid plans and all that...

Gull @ Pagham Harbour
Where does the time go? December already, snow all over and a mug of mulled wine to warm the cockles. I had a few days off work last week, so I took in a few Nature Reserves and spent time at a couple of new locations. If I'm honest, I was disappointed with what I came out with at the end. But then that's the nature (no pun intended) of wildlife photography - no creature cares what days I have off! Yes, you need the technical ability to increase your chances of nailing the shot; but luck is king with wildlife. If it doesn't show up - you don't get a shot. No matter how good you are with a camera. You can, however, increase the chances of finding your quarry with knowledge of the subject and making yourself hard to spot. I'm finding this more difficult to do in the winter with less cover - as I've learned the hard way. I need to remember at times that it's been 7 months since I took serious interest in shooting wildlife (thanks to that Owl!) and every trip out is a lesson.

l enjoy shooting wild animals - not farmed or captive. Wonderful as it is to go to Petworth and get close to the Fallow Deer there, it still feels like "cheating" somewhat. It's why I'm 100% up front with my images... You'll always know the circumstances of a shot from me. Recently, on a forum I frequent, a chap posted up some shots that he had taken on a day at the British Wildlife Centre. Fantastic images of a Short-Eared Owl and a Tawny, but he omitted to mention that they were captive birds and didn't respond to posters who asked. I was aware as I'd already seen the shots in question in the BWC's flickr group, but it isn't my place to pass that on. I feel it's down to the individual, especially if he wants his images taken seriously. It's an unwritten rule when shooting "wildlife" that you state if an animal is captive or trained. In competition, it usually is written - Jose Luis Rodriguez, winner of the 2009 WPOTY but later disqualified, knows that only too well.

So anyway - to reconcile my rueful showing over those days off, I consoled myself with a visit to Warnham LNR to shoot the "commoners" at the feeding stations. Which brings me to another little rant! Nature Reserves - the clue is in the name. Don't bloody well go to one wearing rainbow coats, bright pink Wellingtons and talk loudly to your friends when entering hides. Neither should you take young children who are incapable of keeping quiet (I know, I have one) or plaster yourself with enough perfume/aftershave to gas a badger at 500 yards, or be there at all if you are unable to turn the autofocus beep or flash off on your camera. It is a NATURE reserve - not a place for people to distress/disturb animals (or fellow observers) with their lack of common sense. I sometimes wonder who/what these places are really there to benefit...

I'll sign off with the detail behind the image. This is one of my favourite shots from Pagham Harbour last week - I think it is a Mediterranean Gull in it's winter coat. He was hovering almost Kestrel style above a pool with long grass in front and behind - I had to work the contrast and colours a bit to negate the impact of the grass in the foreground, but I think it came our pretty well.

1 comment:

  1. You're a dam good writer Chris, almost as good as your photography.