“The land does not flee the photographer’s lens like a deer or jackal, nor spoil a picture with an untimely blink or yawn….Relying on technique, patience, and timing, he works in reaction to the environment, searching for a situation that can be creatively explored.”
That was a quote by Tim Fitzharris from his book, “Nature Photography”.
I really like what Fitzharris says about photographers and how we differ from those who work in other creative mediums that allow them to make it up as they go.
Photographers are always at the mercy of the environment, and those photographs that have lasting value depend upon the technique and skill of the photographer. They also are a combination of timing and, of course, patience.
I think “patience” is my word for this month. This past summer has been hot and dry, with only a bit of rain to bring life back in our environment in the last few weeks. I drive to work marveling at how clear and beautiful the early fall days are and I try to make plans to take some time for photography.
However, every time I begin planning I end up doing something else, put away my gear and start into those things around the place that need to be worked on. Oh well, I still have years of photography ahead of me, and with patience I‘ll get the photographs I have been planning.
My wife and I have decided to at least give some time on Sunday mornings to photograph a small pond not far from our home that sometimes has geese and ducks paddling around it. I know that doesn’t seem like an excitement packed excursion, but it’s not far and with patience we might eventually get a good picture ore two.
We drive the short distance along Duck Range Road, (yep that’s the name of the road that meanders past my house) and stop beside the small pond.
Sometimes we see ducks, geese swimming, once even a muskrat, and occasionally owls perched there. However, if we get out of our car they just paddle to the far end or fly off out of our vision. So we come prepared to shoot from the car. One of us sits up front in the drivers seat while the other sits in the back seat and shoots out the window.
We use beanbags to rest our cameras on. If you haven’t tried a beanbag it is an invaluable tool that is a great, inexpensive camera rest, and excellent to use to take photographs from your vehicle. I made mine using an old canvas bag. I filled a discarded bread bag with beans (I think maybe lentils) then stuffed it inside the canvas bag and stitched that closed. I leave it permanently in the car.
A long-time-ago local photographer, Fred Billows, first introduced me to the concept of using a beanbag for camera support. Billows swore by beanbags and always kept a couple (that way he could share) in his car as he cruised around British Columbia, Alaska, and Washington in preparation for that elusive shot of wildlife.
In our preparations we move the car very slowly to where we want to park alongside the pond, and if there is anything on the water we sit quietly for a while as we let the waterfowl get accustomed to us being there. If we are not successful with wildlife we still get lots of fun photos anyway that I can sort through and discard later if they are boring. Maybe this weekend the light will be right and the pond will be interesting. If not I’ll just have to be patient.