Tag Archives: animals

The Pitfalls of Nature Photography

Now that I have been out and about, enjoying the spring weather, indulging in a little quiet time, communing with nature and taking photos, I could not help but notice that my hobby does have its share of pitfalls.

In trying to capture the perfect shot, I often feel like a secret agent, trying to move in on a subject in stealth mode, intensely looking at the world through a viewfinder.

But in doing so, and in being so focused, I have occasionally lost track of the intricacies of the physical world around me, including time and space. From a health and safety perspective, it concerns me a little, given my tendency to occasionally be a bit of a klutz.

Yet even when faced with these challenges, I don’t seem deterred. The rewards of capturing a great nature shot are worth every bump and bruise.

Also, Mother Nature has a way of keeping photographers on their toes by changing the perfect conditions with little advance notice. It can get a little frustrating but I’d like to think that this is part of the thrill of the hunt when perseverance leads you to that shot that made it all worth it.

Here they are, my top 10 pitfalls of nature photography:

10. Losing track of time
It has happened that in the process of evaluating the composition and the lighting, taking a test shot, evaluating the result, making adjustments, taking another test shot and repeating until I think I have captured the best photo possible, before I know it, an hour has passed. It’s delightful to lose myself in the creative process when I have unlimited time on my hands, but it is quite another matter, when I am on my lunch hour and due back for a meeting at 1:00 sharp.

9. Wearing the wrong shoes
A subset of #10, sometimes I get so enthralled in my photo shoot, not only do I lose track of time, but I lose track of space and distance and find myself farther away than I originally planned. It is on the long walk back and dealing with a blister that I realize that I was not wearing the right shoes for such an undertaking. Continue reading

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Humour, Inspiring, Lists, photography

How the Cat Opened My Heart

I think it would be fair to say that I have always been a sensitive guy. Some might even say that is a bit of an understatement given that I have been known to cry at previews at the movies. It might be a bit inconvenient and a tad embarrassing, but I am quite comfortable being the guy for whom sympathy, empathy, compassion and joy run close to the surface.

To me, feelings remind us that we have blood coursing through our veins and that we are part of the human experience. It’s a wonderful thing.

But is it possible to become even more sensitive than that? You bet! And I have the cat to thank.

When I was planning and preparing for the adoption of my cat Ivy, almost two years ago, no one mentioned the many ways a pet can alter one’s range of emotions. What an unexpected epiphany!

I have accepted the fact that when she is waiting for me at the door when I get home from work, it’s likely not because she missed me, it is because it is feeding time. No delusions there.

But after she has filled her belly with her favourite catch of the day and starts following me around as I prepare dinner, that’s when I start sensing that she missed me. And of course, the feeling is mutual.

On a cognitive level, I have always understood the attachment between pets and their owners. Now, as a new pet owner, I also understand it with every fibre of my being.

It’s not like my heart needed much melting to begin with, but with Miss Ivy, it melts a little more each day with everything she “says” and does. She is a ten pound bundle of cuteness. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under 50+, Cats, Inspiring

The Fleeting Moments of Nature Photography

bluebutterflyIn rediscovering my love of photography, I found myself developing a new habit: grabbing the camera and heading outdoors to start capturing the beauty of my favourite season, fall. Little did I know that photographing trees and leaves would quickly progress into something else.

Before you could say “Squirrel!” I was distracted by the abundant wildlife going about its business in the crisp autumn air. I soon found myself following around the wildlife with my camera with the same intensity as Elmer Fudd hunting for “wabbits”.

I admit, the thrill of the hunt for the perfect photo was a little addicting, to the point that I started to forget about the original goal of taking pictures of the leaves and the trees.

It was in that transition that it occurred to me how nature photography is really a unique genre onto itself.

In the studio, when working with an inanimate object, I can stage it, style it, move it around, shoot it, adjust it, and reshoot it 50 times from different angles to get that one perfect shot.
In nature photography, when the moment presents itself, there is little time to think about it. The perfect moment is fleeting and the perfect picture is elusive. And when the subject flees, it is time to look for another subject. The creative challenge it presents is most fascinating to me.

Nature photography is a whole different ball game that requires time, patience, a good eye and the intuition to set up a shot that may (or may not) happen.

For example, as much as I would like to, I cannot tell a chipmunk to “hold still”, “smile”, “a little to the left”, “not so much”, “tilt your head down”, “turn around and try an over the shoulder shot”. Even though they work for peanuts, they are not the most cooperative of subjects.

It is a similar situation with birds. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Inspiring, photography

Ivy’s Mysterious Past

When it comes to Ivy the cat, I have to say, I am incredibly lucky. She is a happy cat, relaxed, content, healthy as can be and a delight to have around. She is clearly an extrovert as she loves to be around people and she appears pretty calm around other animals.

After 7 months, she has no doubt of who her adoptive daddy is. I am always here to ensure her needs are met, including a lot of time for play and for chilling together. When I head out the door, she is sad to see me go, even if it is just to put her poop bag in the garbage outside, and she always greets me with open paws when I get home from work.

But every once in a while, she will do a little something out of character that has me asking, “Where did that come from?” Aside from meowing like an ambulance from time to time, she really is perfect in every way which makes a rare quirk easy to disregard, but still makes me very curious as to why.

When she ran into that little feline parasite thing about 4 months ago, I called the Ottawa Humane Society to check into her immunization and treatment history to confirm what else she may require to be completely up to date. At the same time, I had a chance to ask a bit more about her back story from her life as a stray and how long she had been living life “on the streets”.

I teared up to think about little Miss Ivy (currently Queen of this household) living a life of rooting through people’s garbage, looking for shelter, living outside through a winter that seemingly never ended, with no place to call home or a human to call her own to offer her affection whenever she wanted. Who knows how she was able to survive.

I get images of her standing on the street corner, posing by a cardboard recycling bin, with a cigarette in her right paw, seductively meowing to crusty old tomcats, “You wanna date?” just to find warmth and shelter, even if just for a few minutes. How was she able to sustain her catnip habit? Did she have to turn to a life of “pet”-ty crime? It must have been a very dark and lonely life. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Cats, Humour, Inspiring