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Saturday, 24 April 2021


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When Jim Marshall got that famous shot of Johnny Cash giving the "bird", it was with a Leica rangefinder camera and a 35mm lens. He knew the subject and was lucky to be ready to shoot when the bird made its appearance.

So yeah, I guess that math works out.

I like the flow of your recent flurry of posts. Thank you, as ever, for your blog.

And luck is directly correlated to time spent.

When it comes to birds, knowing the subject is a lot of work but very interesting. Finding them means knowing their migratory habits and stopping points. There is a very interesting new book on the subject - A World On The Wing by Scott Weidensaul (https://www.amazon.com/World-Wing-Global-Odyssey-Migratory/dp/0393608905)

I might add that being interested or devoted to the subject, no matter what, is important for photographers too.

We (my spouse and I) have been big on travel, some for history and some for nature which are also strong interests.

That leads me to recommend a new Netflix documentary, "Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb" about one of the earliest sites of pyramids in Egypt. It is a refreshing simple film without the Hollywood style of many recent documentaries! Saqqara even made The Washington Post this week "In the tombs of Saqqara, new discoveries are rewriting ancient Egypt’s history - The Washington Post" https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/04/22/tombs-saqqara-new-discoveries-are-rewriting-ancient-egypts-history/?itid=hp-more-top-stories-1

The photography connection is this. After watching the documentary, I dug into my travel photos and found pictures of the site from our visit in 2004. When we were there, unlike the other sites with hordes of tourists, we were the only visitors and there were only two guards (one on a camel of course) and a bunch of stray dogs. Quite different from the hundreds of workers in the documentary!

Wicked and very true. But I think there is another view: Say there is a 1/10 chance to get a winning shot of a bird in flight. If I fail but keep trying 50 times, the probability will become 0.995 (1 - 0.9^50), almost a certainty.

A couple of things I’m learning to do myself: I read many world class landscape photographers revisit the same sites over and over again throughout their lifetimes and many street photographers practice “fishing” (ie. staying at one spot to patiently anticipate the right person to walk into a composition, as opposed to “hunting”, moving around to search for that decisive moment.)

There is a lot of hard work hidden behind the word “chance”. “Fortune favours the prepared.”

“Dans les champs de l'observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés.”
In the fields of observation chance favours only the prepared mind.
—Louis Pasteur

I found a painted bunting in a local park last year and even though he kept returning to the same food source over and over again, I had to shoot for an hour to get something I liked. Apparently this bird in not normally found in Arizona because later when I told some birdwatchers in the park about the bunting, they were all atwitter (sorry bout that). :-)

"Written blogs are getting to be rarer these days." They are. Now seems like a good time to say, "thanks for writing on Sunday, Mike."

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