We decided as it was going to be a nice day we would have a day out, just the two of us to WWT Slimbridge.
While sitting in the café having a coffee and a cake a stray thought came to my mind, yes reader, a thought. It found its way around the dusty chamber of my skull and by total chance hit a point that caused a spark and woke a slumbering, well, I wont say giant, but you get the idea!
There have been many changes in our society that have influenced people and made us not only more aware of our impact on our environment but crucially has also made us more aware of our responsibility and the need to act, if only by becoming a member of wildlife trusts, charities etc. to support others that are willing to actually - Do something!
Our impact is not only but here at home but on far flung shores. The end result of our profligate expansion with a near suicidal rush to ever grow as a species with little or no thought to the rest of the environment, and the impact that this has on domestic as well as world populations of creatures that we share the planet with, is clear to those willing to look.
One change has been the development of the digital camera.
I recall shooting film, it was expensive and slow in the sense that you had to take the picture, up to 36 frames per roll of film at a up front price, then process the film and then print the pictures. You did not know if you had taken a good picture until you saw the negative/slide/print. You went to visit Slimbridge, you were inspired to take photographs of the Flamingoes, you went home, you sent the film off, with money, you got the prints back and lo the bird had moved, you focused wrong / exposed wrong/ etc. out of those 36 expensive prints you had 1 that was ‘okay’.
Today, with the glory of digital technology you take the photos of the Flamingo, check the image on your camera screen and take another till you get what you want, by the time you go home you have all the great images you can take in a day on your memory card and when you get home you can print them as and when you want. Everyone is a wildlife photographer. Mind you not saying it makes you a good photographer, the best camera in the world does not take the best picture, it’s the photographer that does that.
So, this brings me back to my errant thought.
Given that I always want a ‘better’ picture of xxxx or that the subjects change week on week as more migrants come in or more chicks are hatched or the light is better as it was overcast and next week its sunny or the……, you get the picture? (pun intended). So, I go back on regular occasions and so we are trust members so as to feed my hunger for the shot and to be fair to help assuage my ‘guilt’ for my part in the impact we as humans have on these creatures who have no say in it.
Just how much have charities like the WWT benefitted from the technology advances of Digital cameras? You can’t turn around there for people with DSLRs, Bridge cameras, Ipads, phone cameras all taking pictures. I believe that they and other charities can offer thanks to this revolution of photography as a serious boost to their income. And long may it go on.
Of course the up side of all this, apart from more support for wildlife is the fact that I can put my hand on my heart and say "that new camera I want is a bargain", after all see how cheap shots are compared to film so it pays for itself really – honest.
Any way here are a few I took, not good enough so I will have to go back again, just to get that ‘killer’ shot I thought I had got this time, but now on the computer screen I see it is good but not good enought …….
Iconic shot, the observation tower with greylag geese inbound
Sir Peter, its all his great work and he is the reason there are still Nene, Hawaiian Geese, in the world !
There is always one out of step !
Of course our local wildlife love the area as well, loads of food for them with everyone feeding the geese, ducks etc - this is the kind of thing he may well have been looking for
A common Bank Vole
Cant go there and not photograph a Flamin Bingo !
A Greylag Goose, one of many
A male Goldeneye, bet you can work out how it gots its name !
A pair of drake Smews having a 'conversation' avout a lady Smew, it got a bit intense and fast after this !
Of course the habitat is important and a lot of grasses with seedheads feature around the site, love the low sun through them
Feathers, its all in the detail even shed they are waterproof for a long time
No surprise the Corvid families are present in numbers, I do like Jackdaws
Ahh, the exotics, Male Mandarin Duck, whos a pretty boy then ?
Less exotic and more relaxed, Tufted Ducks
Okay, its cheesey and been done to death but when it presents itself - ya have to take it !
And then the sun started to depart and the birds started heading to roost
So we did the same - back to the car and headed home after a good day with a few good photos, ah but, are they good enought, nope -
Oh dear, going to have to go back and take this one again - its not as sharp as I want it, guess thats another trip to justify the annual membership, well it gets cheaper per trip each time we go so its a bargain really, honest!