Monday Musings – White Breasted Nuthatch

I have to admit, I have a little obsession going on here. Over the years I have photographed White Breasted Nuthatches countless times. I have hundreds of images of this bird but still not “the” shot.

White Breasted Nuthatch After Snow

As I meet more photographers, I think searching for “the” shot is a genetic abnormality. Who else but a photographer could have hundreds of images of the same species, possibly from the same location and still want to photograph the subject more? The reason is simple. The captures I have don’t relay the story I want to tell.

Spring is Coming, White Breasted Nuthatch

Im sure I will receive some email telling me that these images are really good. For that I thank you in advance. 🙂 But over time, I have started looking at my work with far more critical an eye. I realize now that one trait I suffered from when I first started to seriously photograph wildlife was something I have heard described as “Never Again” sickness. In essence, you make images that are less than optimal because you are not sure you will ever again have the opportunity to photograph that subject. But as I have filled out my image library and visited many places I have come to realize that enjoying the experience is more important than capturing the experience.

So how could I have done better with these two images? In the first image the light is too flat. There is not enough drama even though there are great elements in the frame. In the second imageI don’t like the background. The branches in the distance slice the bird like a knife and distract me. As I said before real picky, I know. But this is the way my eye and thinking have evolved. The really difficult task is to stop myself from deleting my earlier work. I think I will avoid that problem (many photographers delete older work) because I learn a lot from going back and reviewing what images I have made in the past. There is usually something I missed and by reviewing the images I will make sure not to repeat the mistake and hopefully get closer to “the” shot.

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