Black swan giving cygnets a lift.
Image by LHG Creative Photography
Some more of those late season cygnets. Contrast hell again.
Frankly I failed to get it right and had to pshop it a bit to make it tolerable. But there are reasons for that, and thats why I ought to warn you i’m about to start ranting again. Those who don’t like vents of spleen are better off probably just thinking "aww thats cute" and move on to the next pic. Those who like the subtext can carry on as they wish lol.
The more perceptive of you have probably realised that the swan is showing avoidance behaviours. Not because of me but because of the idiots 7 feet to her right pointing cameras directly at her young without even having the common decency to try to form a bond of trust before starting. She’s swimming at speed in a trench basically, long grass and trees between me and her, and a lot of other photographers getting in the way, most of which had absolutely no idea how not to look they were after the cygnets, the buggers dont seem to understand when you have a 300 mm lens (because that was the minimum these monocled hunchbacks have) you can actually stand back a bit and not crowd over like hungry vultures making the swan nervous. I got this from 15 feet further back than they were, and I bet their pics suck butt. The top down thing almost never works anyway. And the light was dreadful. Half of em were so close they probably missed focal range with their huge telephotos anyway.
I got this piccy by reading the birds movement path, and giving it respect, and going there in advance, not by crouching over it and crowding it like a randy twitching leper in a group of plastic-coated morlocks. I know anthropomorphisation of animals isn’t a good thing but a touch of empathy wouldn’t hurt, that way people can see when they are making a mother nervous. The blank pseudo-scientific pedant around animals is just a hell. They know everything about the bird , its tag number, its latin name, its migratory pattern, how much the average egg weighs etc – everything except apparently, that they make it nervous. Machine brains appreciating nature? Contradiction in terms. these people would be better of staying at home reading the statistics. Actually thats unfair of me, these people need nature too, for its awakening properties, but can we just chain them to benches in the middle of parks and give them a pair of binoculars or something? Maybe deny them books and statistics until they learn to see and can then genuinely appreciate the information they quote like bullets to others from the pages of books they soullessly read with a genuine understanding? Even with a love of nature you still have to deal with extremes, its either bloody chavs day visiting, kicking pigeons and saying birds are "funny" while stood there in jeans so low cut they look like theyve shat their pants, or pedants who cant see the wood for the trees standing on ducklings while reading "the historical uses of numeric codes in the tagging of migratory birds". Does no-one do happy medium anymore?
As usual, being actually into animals, I stayed to watch at a respectful distance when the nature paparazzi left, rather than just do a shot and run, personal space rape thing, and got to see some magic moments.
Never did like people who think its ok to make an animal nervous or insecure just to get a shot, especially when concerning young, abandonment opportunities and predator attacks can happen because of these morons – a nature photographer who doesn’t consider their own impact on animals and counter accordingly to minimise that impact, especially when its often no more than taking a few steps back, is frankly no nature photographer in my book.
Mum wasn’t always happy about them hitching a ride now theyre getting a little heavier, several times she pulled one of the young off the back by a leg into the water with just enough force to say "get out and walk yourself, you lazy lil sod!"
Point is, I saw a moment the paps wouldnt because in no way was mother swan there comfortable enough around them to do that whereas I had the sense and lack of selfishness necessary to respect the animal …and reap the reward. There are times when you put the camera down, or just back the hell off. Camera idiots get on my tits frankly. Get the shot if you can yes, (and to be frank, most times thats perfectly possible without being a life-sucking vulture) but not at the expense of somethings happiness and mental security. I stopped shooting and missed the opportunity to show you that amazing moment- because I considered the mental welfare of the animal more important.
She needed chillout time to avoid panic or poor decisions in looking after her offspring, and I was always damn well going to give her every opportunity to recover her senses. There is no glory I would want that would make an animal miserable or feel fear. This isn’t moral highground i’m talking about here, i’m just talking about not being a prick. Its that simple. And yes, it does bloody aggrieve me that had I been alone with the swan prior to that moment and that she wouldnt have been stressed I could of, with a totally clear conscience, had a chance of a genius shot instead of the entirely mediocre one that everyone was pushing for like idiots. These shot opportunities come literally once every few months or even years and a good few of those can be the making of a photographer. I am pissed off about it in a completely permanent and positively monolithic way. The only person there who actually remotely gave a shit about the welfare of the animal missed the shot. On purpose.
If theres one message I want to give out here, its straight, true, and blatent, don’t be a prick around animals just because your holding a camera. Its not a get out clause and its not an excuse. Don’t do it. Animals reveal themselves, you don’t take from them. I’m sure before now people have had the impression, be they serious twitchers, photographers or naturalists whatever, that I am looking at them as if I just nearly trod in a dogshit. Thats because I am.
Doesn’t matter what else you know , if you don’t respect the animal I will consider you to be a turd, and thats all there is to it. Doesnt matter what else you know, its a lynchpin of decent sentience and intelligence, and if you havent learned respect you might as well still be a toddler, because you have no perspective and it invalidates much of the further learning you may have done. Thats what toddlers are. Not stupid, not even necessarily lacking in knowledge, but lacking personal context and perspective and respect. The term I believe is juvenile.
We talk to toddlers knowing they spout utter rubbish most of the time because we understand they are incomplete and growing, we hope to help complete them, because usually we love our children. The pedant is the adult toddler who never heard what he needed to know or who was incapable of listening. Pedants are technically sociopaths in many cases, and thats something they have in common with animal abusers , criminals, most rapists, and even most serial killers who have not yet managed to rise to rank of pure psychopath. Its small wonder they cannot feel their impact on an animals mental state. They can’t even usually read its effects in their fellow man, one of the most expressive primates ever designed.
Unfortunately, outside of depression, sociopathy is quite possibly the most common mental illness or personality defect on earth. In fact that sociopathy in our lives often makes us turn to nature to get away from these freaks, those who dont feel much , or see much, are machievellian, are often excellent businessmen, who are often alpha male types, who per head of capita have a suprising amount of control over our lives, advantaged in life by not having to many moral compuctions to any form of compassion. . Even if you dont need the essentials of life confirming for you to learn, being in natures completion of the mind zone is soothing to almost everyone.
Pedants usually have sociopathic tendancies. I equate pedants and people who lack respect toward the innocent in life as merely sufferring a mild sociopathy. Yup the penny drops, probably damn near a quarter of the worlds population have sociiopathic tendancies, and actually thats something observation of nature can help with. That means look, not intrude. Pick up the lessons in life you missed, and complete yourself. Nature is the very template for completion.
If I come over with a superiority complex, its not because I have a complex. I’m miserable , depressive, self-loathing, grumpy, but hell, I know what real respect is, and a know a lot about nature generally at a level many twitchers and blind camera eyes will never experience, because I feel every scrap of info or data and every observation of form and behaviour. I have more answers because i’m more in tune with the animal than some pedantic machined minded fool. Its the difference between knowing something for sure, and (i’m talking about neither faith nor assumption here- but a level of understanding you cannot explain to someone who does not have it) and then having to confirm it years later because you have no context for it. Scientific is scientific, pedantic is pedantic. Remember this fact.
Since the dawn of fish ownership for example, a hobby with an 800 year plus history, intelligent people who actually have emotions and perceptile abilities have known quite obviously that your average goldfish has more than a three second memory, yet its taken science several hundred years to prove it, and that situation is frankly ridiculous. Yes the world needs its emotionally hollow data crunchers, but man alive, don’t let them near the animals !) Data is not the experience of life because appreciation of life requires context and that has to be relative not only to pure logic but our emotional status as well and the empathies we do have.
A computer will never understand life. No being that isnt self aware and isn’t aware of its own relativity to others learns anything real. Complete humans understand life. To be pedantic is actually subhuman. If you don’t feel, you can’t know a damn thing in the same way that a computer can hold all the data in the world and yet make absolutely no sense of it , the trick is not to let imaginations run completely crazy, but use the gifts of perception and abstraction sensibly. Obviously a nature pedant will have no understanding of that. Anyone lacking perception and abstraction tends not to be terribly good at anything they do, unless it happens that a machine can also do it. Suck on it.
Being a longhairedgit, its against my nature to leave people suffering under illusions as the result of excessive politeness. 😉
You know, people piss me off full stop really, even my supposed nature photography brethren. When the camera rules, the eye becomes dead. Why do these people waste their time, and far more importantly, mine ? 😉 I am strictly an amateur photographer at this time, though hope to change that soon, and if I can see the problem, surely it can hardly be rocket science. People are just selfish really.
Nature photography is best as a solo pursuit, or with a well chosen friend or small support team who all have that delicate touch, this keeps control so you have less impact on the creatures surrounding you. Its actually the difference between being a mindless tourist and a real photographer. Can you imagine paying to go out shooting with a bunch of tourists even on an organised safari somewhere like africa. Sounds like hell to me. Get me on the plane, drop me off with a backpack, a packet of fags, a cornish pasty and a bog roll, and i’ll disappear for a couple of days on my own and do a much better job. Thats the way its done. Not cramped in a tour bus or standing in a line outside a cage witha bunch of talentless fat people in crunchy macintoshes with no sense of personal space who think having a camera (and frankly only have one as a status symbol when they reach near retirement age because they have no damn talent) replaces brain activity.
Yup its all sour grapes on my part, partly because I didn’t get the shot I wanted because a bunch of gommos ruined the opportunity, I ain’t denying it, but like anger generally, it serves purpose, and those sour grapes were put in my mouth rather than being spontaeniously created by me, and its a completely justifiable reaction. I think a lot of people apologise for being angry a little too much in the face of idiocy. We areall afraid of offending people these days (well, ish), and thats losing the plot because your supposed to offend idiots, its either that or hit them in the head with a brick, cos they refuse to think any other damned way. If you don’t offend someone in this life it just becomes a constant wade through excrement all your life. Got to carve a bit of space for yourself somewhere, especially these days with nanny-statism abounding liberally. Call it the natural order if you will, and I’m not about to give that functionality up for the sake of idiots, and if I sound repressed, its because I am- by idiots. We all are lately.
Can’t stop ranting this week.lol. But it feels good. Doesnt do to bottle things up now does it? lol.
i think the title says it all
Video Rating: 3 / 5
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