The longer you’re shooting, the more you’ll discover what’s your cup of tea and what’s not. Just like the real life. At the beginning, you try everything and just can’t get enough. Gradually, you become more discerning, which helps you to avoid things that just don’t suit you.
To quote the tidy up guru Marie Kondo: “If it doesn’t spark joy*…throw it away!
Shooting from hidings, cars, boats, from behind screens, below rugs and dressed in green mottled suits…..been there, done that.
Although I wistfully remember the ease of observing and capturing animals up close (often a mission impossible without cabins and cloths), I just miss something.
That metal shell, or timber housing literally limits my nature experience.
I now know that for me, the fun is in the whole package. When I go out shooting, we go together; Ears, nose, body and tongue, they all can come along.
I clearly remember one of my photo pals rolling on the floor laughing, when I mentioned that specific smell of ‘hot dunes’. I think it’s a fantastic and addictive spice mix. A hint of resin, a pinch of sea salt, some water mint and a touch of fox smell … Chanel, eat your heart out!
The other day I messaged a friend:
My models didn’t show up, the light is deplorable.
But it smells sooooo good, so I’m here to stay!
I rest my case.
My ears may also participate and can be useful at times. Although I might be a dork when it comes to bird identification, I do hear the kingfisher coming in. I can also hear creaking pine trees, the rustle of fighting dragonflies or earwigs trimming their claws. Not exactly the most exciting sounds in the world, but they surely add to that nice natural atmosphere!
One might think that taste and nature photography don’t go together well….
Only the thought of Green Darters can be mouth-watering by itself. Of course I don’t eat dragonflies (duh), but their habitat – blackberry bushes – instead; yummy!
Making beautiful pictures serves as a perfect excuse to gather buckets full of goodies. When I see something green flying by, I taste blackberries!
The tactile senses also add to the pleasure. (nettles, sea buck-thorn spines, horseflies and sunburn are excluded from this blog.)
Sometimes, I wonder whether I’m not just shooting to legitimize my crawling through the mud / sand. Among like-minded, I’m excused, like a somewhat over-enthusiastic, but not really dangerous colleague. Not until the afternoon, when I enter a crowded train compartment like some sort of clay doll, I realize that playing in the mud is bound to a certain age.
But usually, I simply enjoy the grass tickling my chin, the wind blowing through my hair and the warm soft sand below me. And when I finally arrive home, I can have hours of extra fun with all the sand that has been hiding in my camera. .
But the best experience by far is to combine shooting with water! Water can be seen, tasted, smelled, felt and heard. Whether it’s the calmly swaying of a boat on the waves, chilling in a small pond (read: shooting Moor frogs, crawling through wet grass (read: shooting Snake’s Head Fritillaries, or wading through a gently flowing river (read: shooting Banded demoiselles), water is always good.
After all, one of my best photographic memories consists of chasing damselflies in a French river. While my holiday mates were respectively, reading, sleeping, floating or building dams, I was wading through the the pleasantly warm river. My camera just above water level and dozens Banded damselflies around me.
That’s the feeling I’m looking for!
And this year, I found it again. On a hell-hot day, I was lying in this delightfully refreshing river…
A good soil under my feet, the sound of gently lapping water in my ears, the smell of summer in my nose and numerous eye-candies in the form of exquisitely beautiful metallic flying critters.
That did spark joy!
The only thing that might be able to top this experience would be lying in a river, smelling hot sand, listening to an owl and seeing a fox swimming towards me in the viewfinder…
But hey, there should be something left to desire, isn’t it?! 😀
* Kondo’s method of organizing is known as the KonMari method, and consists of gathering together everything you own and then keeping only those things which “spark joy” (tokimeku in Japanese, literally “flutter, throb, palpitate”), and choosing a place for everything from then on. [wikipedia]