I was always told as a boy, don’t try to Run before you can Walk.
Thats True of many things I have done in life, one thing was my love for photography, I didn’t have the open land of Africa, or Island’s with exotic creatures on, eagles taking fish from blue water.
I had the UK with its dark dismal days, planning didn’t come into it as you can’t trust the weather.
So the start was not the easiest, but you work with what you have. So I started chasing the dream. That was to become a great photographer in my chosen field, using just the basic equipment and Skill I had inherited from my 22 years in the military.
This gave me Fieldcraft Skills and Weapon Skills you can only get from serving. Yes this may have been a bonus but I didn’t understand the Basics of Photography. How an image is formed, and all the the factors that could contribute to your final image.
I travelled many countries and took many photographs on my travels but didn’t really understand anything about the Roll of Film I used or the Camera settings.
Then one day back in 2000 I decided to take photography more seriously and invested in my first DSLR. And a very cheap third party lens.
So my dream started a dream that would have many disappointing days, days where I wanted to give in, call it a day. With no one to help me I got very upset and down that I could not get a bird in flight.
This was my Goal my Dream of capturing a bird any bird just in action with wings all in focus. What I didn’t know was I was taking on the hardest form of photography anyone could choose.
Quickly I started to learn one big thing.
You Have To Become A Photographer Before You Become A Wildlife Photographer.
So learning the basis of photography was the first thing I did, not how good the Camera or Lens was, as that would come in later years when I had mastered photography and how it works.
Let’s jump forward and talk about Today. We all want something in life something we can be proud of, that makes you feel good about yourself. So you pick your subject and decide I want to be a photographer like Colby Brown.
He gets the Grizzly Bear picking out a 3 foot Salmon out of fresh water. He then gets White Tailed Eagles fighting in midair.
Your overwhelmed by his images and look at what equipment you need to get such stunning images, your budget is not a question so you order the best camera and the lens Colby used to get his image.
You buy the nice clothing to look he part when you go out to the Nature Reserve. The best Camera strap the best Carbon Fibre Tripod. You don’t bother or think about the £25,000 you have spent as you want that amazing image everyone on Social Media will comment on.
The venture out feeling so good about having the best equipment you can buy. People are impressed with you as you tell them what model you have, they comment on your Jacket and Gortex boots.
You turn up at a location everybody is talking about. The Bird is seen there flying past, so your aim is to get his bird as its a rare sighting but one for the book to tick off. Your book of Top birds to get, comes from looking at images from top wildlife photography posts on the net or TV.
You arrive set up all your lovely new equipment and wait, your so excited as the description of your camera says it can track birds, take 20 frames a second ,lock onto the bird and keep it in Focus.
The bird comes into your viewfinder and you hit the shutter button, god that sounded impressive as every one looks round and looks at you, the camera shutter sounded great, you must have got some crackers there with that setup.
Your so happy you look at your LCD and see your first image, its slightly out of focus, you swallow and move to the next one, that’s slightly out of focus to.
Not to worry I will wait till I get home and look then. You arrive home, the wife says how was it, did you get some great images of that bird in flight.
Checking your images later is heart wrenching as there all out of focus, dark under exposed. O it must be the camera there must be a fault with it. I will phone the manufacturer in the morning.
I am not saying in anyway everyone does this but the point I am making and have stressed before in earlier posts that its the person behind the camera, his or her knowledge and skill that will get you the great image.
Also remember when you see an outstanding bird photo, they don’t disclose how many hours it took. The frames that it took, all the ones that were not worth editing. So it’s nice to see but rarely do you get that Stunning image unless your in the right place at the right time. Perfect light, background, Sun direction, settings are spot on, your skills are up to scratch and you fill the frame with the subject.
I don’t chase the dream these days as I look back at hundreds of images of many species of bird i have captured in flight and they are small birds.
I feel if you get the small birds that move fast it shows your panning skills. So I look at my images and feel I have mastered the art of Birds in flight. But thats not saying I can get every image in focus.