Today’s picture, taken by the husband of Hilary, Dropscone’s niece, shows something interesting in Central Park, NY last week.
It was a wet, miserable Sunday and I spent all but five minutes (out getting a Sunday paper) of the day in the house doing nothing very much. I might characterise it as heavy resting on medical advice but it was really nothing more than total idleness.
Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir as usual and while she was away, I mounted and framed one of the woodpecker pictures which I took on Friday. The mount cutter is straightforward to use and I had the picture ready for her return.
I was quite pleased with it but when Mrs Tootlepedal looked at it, she she said, ‘Very nice but don’t you think it would look better if it was portrait and not landscape?’ Of course she was right so I went back and put the original back into the photo editor, reprinted it, cut a new mount and re-framed it.
Now I’ll have to go back to the Moorland Feeders and try to get a sharper picture and then I really will have the finished article.
In the rain, which continued throughout the daylight hours and only stopped in the dark of the evening, I tried to take a few kitchen window shots. I liked this one in spite of the rather fuzzy picture quality.
I was able to get reasonable shots, considering the gloomy day, of a couple of flying birds as they slowed up before hitting the feeder.
After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal, who is made of sterner stuff than me, put on her coat and went for a watery walk round the Murtholm. She took her camera with her but since she didn’t show me any pictures when she got back, I presume she didn’t use it.
And that was my day. For the rest of it I did sitting and thinking and sometimes just sitting.
Things looked up a lot in the evening though. We went along to the Buccleuch Centre to see an illustrated lecture by our favourite photographer, Laurie Campbell. (If you visit his website, click on the ‘recent work’ tab to see some of the pictures he showed us tonight. If you like bird photography, you should visit his website.) He showed us some pictures whoch he had taken on a visit to the Langholm Moor last year and a whole series which he has recently taken on Harris in the Outer Hebrides.
His work is terrific and his accompanying commentary is charming, informative and somewhat terrifying. I say terrifying because he occasionally reveals how he got a shot. For instance, he might have sat in a three foot by three foot by three foot hide for 36 hours at a time on several occasions for the sake of a very special golden eagle shot. His patience is incredible.
His first advice to would-be wild life photographers is to get a hide but I would be pushed to sit still for three hours let alone thirty six. It was a magical couple of hours, immersed in his world and seeing it through his eyes. From time to time, he helpfully dispenses technical tips as he goes through the pictures, telling you what exposure, what lens or what ISO he used. The main thing that I learned was that I must use my tripod a lot more and that will allow me to get sharper pictures at longer exposures.
It is a moot point as to whether he has filled me with enthusiasm for taking better pictures or despair because I know that they will never be as good as his. Perhaps a bit of both. After all, he is talking about quality good enough for a full page glossy magazine photo and I am only aiming for a nice picture on a computer screen which is not quite the same thing.
Anyway, I am still going to post a perching bird of the day regardless. It is a greenfinch, well puffed up against a nasty day.