I am not a wildlife photographer – The hare
I freely admit to the fact that I am not a wildlife photographer. I don’t have the right equipment, nor do I have the patience to stay in one place long enough to take photographs of rare birds or other animals. I also acknowledge that I take an eclectic mix of subjects; the one thing they all have in common is that they are in monochrome.
However, if the opportunity presents itself then I am more than happy to take a wildlife shot. It rarely happens but it does give me pleasure when the result, in my opinion, is worth sharing on my blog.
This image of a hare was taken whilst walking our spaniel across some heathland in Norfolk recently. I had my camera out as I was hoping to take some photographs of our dog, when my wife quietly drew my attention to a hare on a path over to our right. The hare sat in late afternoon sun just long enough for me to focus and press the shutter. The hare must have spotted us or our dog, probably both, before running away. A fleeting moment.
I do belong to a camera club and I might be tempted to enter this picture into a competition, but I know what the judge will say – “I wonder what it would be like in colour?” or “I wonder why the author has chosen to convert it into black and white?”
Well let me try and answer this question. For me photography is all about light, line, tone and texture, and colour in an image can so often be a distraction. Because of the time of day this shot was taken, the colours are vibrant, with a mix of strong autumnal yellows and greens. Although the hare is bathed in sunlight, the colours are too much of a distraction and as a consequence the eye does not rest happily on the main subject, which is of course relatively small in the frame. In monochrome the hare stands out, the line of the path is a clear compositional element and most importantly for me, the light and contrast in the shot is there for all to enjoy.
7 Responses to “I am not a wildlife photographer – The hare”
Good points well made and I’m pretty sure you’re right about a judges likely comments.
Thanks……and probably why it will never be entered in a competition!
In case you misunderstood my poorly framed comment, I agree with your words absolutely. I’ve also seen judges who don’t just don’t get it, but I think they are in the minority. Many of them do seem to really appreciate monochrome, so it would be a shame not to give them the chance to critique your excellent work.
No misunderstanding at all, just that we have some outstanding nature photographers in our club, so almost irrespective of what a judge might say, I think it would be destined for a lower mark. If the mark didn’t matter then yes, I would welcome the critique, but the mark is important, after all it’s a competition! Having said all of that we take photos for our own enjoyment and if they give pleasure to others then that’s a bonus.
A superb image, Alan. And I agree absolutely with your paragraph about the merits of B&W imaging. I was a B&W photographer and printer for many years and the B&W medium remains close to my own heart. Simplifying an image to the pure tonal range can change mood, allow line and light to take centre stage and so much more. I find I am converting colour to B&W more and more these days – It’s good to find a photographer that works in that medium.
Thanks very much Andy. I have never worked in the darkroom but given my love of monochrome I may just be tempted to do so in the future. The idea of mixing digital and analogue is rather appealing.
Darkroom work is hard work – a morning to produce maybe three or four prints! Recently I photographed the best of my old exhibition sized prints – and the results were surprisingly good. Certainly saved time c/w the task of scanning all the old negatives that have been filed away for up to forty years.