Friday, 28 January 2011

Print out

In the digital age it's all too easy to neglect turning your images into prints. Yet the physicality of a print, even one made on a home inkjet printer, lends a different appearance to an image. One that, I think, helps you evaluate it better than when viewed on a screen.

Sorting through a pile of prints trying to order them for filing in an album also makes you more critical of the images. Doing this with a load of my wildlife shots the other day I realised that out of some 40 prints there were about four that were actually any good as images, yet in a similar sized pile of other photos the hit rate was higher.

This got me thinking. Do I want to carry on taking so-so wildlife photos, or try and take more of the photos that I can't pigeon-hole so easily? Two things point to the latter way forward.

The first is technical - the 'fast glass' I use for non-wildlife photography gives a much better 'look' to my images. This leaves me looking at a bird photograph taken with 'consumer glass' and feeling it looks flat and dissatisfying. Irrespective of any artistic merit it may have I know it would have been better if the 'right' gear had been used.

The second is more psychological - I find I keep going back to look at my non-wildlife photos and think about how and why they 'work'. They hold my interest for longer. My few good wildlife shots do this too, but they also fall into the category of 'non-wildlife' images.

So why was I shooting ducks in flight with an unsuitably short lens this afternoon, wishing I'd taken something longer but enjoying it? The ducks pics are okay for crops, but they're just duck pics. The pleasure wasn't in the image making, it was the technical challenge of panning and firing at the right time. I think I'd have been just as happy shooting those widgeon with a shotgun!

If it wasn't for the niggle that the big lens might come in handy for something I'd get rid of it immediately. If I can find a x2 teleconverter in stock then I think it will go. The birdies are going to take a back seat.

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