Part 1 My summer, photography and wildlife…GoneFishin
There is much to be said about being a photographer or a hobbyist of camera clicking. When taken seriously, both of these pursuits evoke emotion and passion. I have watched others who love the craft... and yes it is a craft. Like any art it involves time, energy, detail, understanding, and devotion. It is one thing to take a picture, it is quite another when your camera becomes a part of you. “To see” in everything a story, a color, a movement or a reflection is somewhat obsessive and often times disappointing. It is very hard to capture in a picture what the eye witnesses. It is intrinsically connected to the old adage, “stop and smell the roses” over and over again.
Doing photography is a commitment and a challenge. It is more than getting a picture. Discerning what your camera can do and how to use it is not an easy learning curve. For a person like myself, who is a bit slow on recall, I find I must return regularly to the guide and to question and ponder all the perplexing combinations of possibilities. It took me months to mentally coordinate what an f-stop, shutter speed, iso and exposure were. Coordinating and utilizing them when the time comes is quite another thing.
I look at the work of others and find myself comparing. At times I scream at over edits and PhotoShop fakery. I do feel there is a certain medium both professionally and personally for over edits, but really? As a lover of reality I would like to see pure work in the realm of genuine mediums.(minimum edites) I’d like to see work that shouts “Hoorah I did it!”
What do I mean by that? I like to see a work in which I know as a photographer what it took… When I look at your work I would like to take myself to what was going through your mind as you sat for hours, walked or hiked , having lugged your camera and equipment, while purposefully settling into an environment, if only in your yard. It can be a painstaking process resulting in the “joy” of the beholder. I like to consider how chaotic, brazen or beautiful the day or nighttime was as you pointed your lens and adjusted your settings. I like to contemplate what you must have felt when you uploaded your photos to your computer, only to be disappointed or thrilled with the end results. I don’t want to waste my time wondering how you edited them, I want to be taken back to the purpose of all of it...
I have 2 stories which I’d like to relate to you. The first was on July 4rth this year. I was taking pictures of the fireworks and stood near some ladies when a conversation was struck up. The ladies were mother and daughter; they had known my mom who passed away the year before. I was intentionally set up at the school she had taught at and right beside the window to her old classroom. (I hold my memories of mom close to my heart when I am taking pictures.) One lady talked to me about her young son who had been one of mom’s students. She enthusiastically told me all about her son and his photography and videos. She told me how he had used Twitter and hash tagged his work to National Geographic. Apparently his work was so good that they want him to come and see them once he is older. He is now 17. I was excited for her and for her son, what great work he must be doing! Then she started to tell me how she has been with him in the wilderness as he “stages” his work!
Say it isn’t so!
Right then and there I had a flashback to when I first discovered that Saturday night wresting tv matches were fake…Devastated! "Oh," I thought, "please, please, please when I look at National Geo let me not see staging!" I’m not saying they do, as I really feel they are true to their philosophical boundaries. But still she put a bug in my ear that left my mouth wide open. As I tried not to show my feelings... it was hard to maintain my appreciation for her sons work. Staging wildlife? Who does that? What about all the books that talk about the rule of thirds, composition and lighting?
The second story happened just this week. I had been in the marsh in very wet and buggy conditions. I watched for hours hoping that the shy white egret youngsters would come near me so that I might capture a picture. Never having shot in these conditions with strong lighting, green as green can be, wetland grass and white birds I was nervous. Plus I had forgotten a filter sunglass lens. (I got eaten alive since I also forgot bug juice.) After I loaded up my pictures and landed on a few that I thought were ok, I took them to the neighborhood printers. This printer happens to have top notch equipment,(Forest Ave CyberCopy.) I asked them to enlarge my photos on 11’17’ 80 pound glossy poster paper. I loved the results. The paper and image of my pictures looked more like paintings and the ink and color were superb. Later that day, having lost my battery charger, I went to the Photography Shop where I buy my lens and supplies. I brought in my pictures to show them, there were around eight of them. After a bit, I noticed that there wasn't an overabundance of impression on the sales clerks' behalf. Two gathered round, one questioned my edit job (they are big on PhotoShop and classes). He didn’t like the paper it was printed on (they use real photography paper) and have I considered printing my own? They were having a great sale on a printer.
No “atta boy” at this stop. All I could think was, "… come on ...how about a little encouragement...something? I’ve spent a small fortune here."
This is is why I am not a joiner of groups or communities, I'm always suspicious. I like the freedom to do my own thing, but occasionally I’d like some input. Though I am not even close to being a feminist I’m thinking maybe real girls (I am all of 4’11’ and 110 pounds) don’t crawl through the swap to take pictures and commune with wildlife?
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