Monday, February 1, 2016

Gambling with the bearded reedlings

Towards the end of January 2016 I decided it was time, after almost two months, to take my gear out again and try again with the bearded reedlings (or bearded tits).

There is an area, called Rietputten, where at least 20 couples of bearded tits are usually reported. Information at the natuurmonumenten site: Rietputten

I was there before, in a dark windy day in December, with no much luck, but this last day it was sunny and with almost no wind. So I started to walk in the mud to explore the area, hopeful to see some birds in a nice light.

The minutes and hours passed, without seeing any, the best light was turning into a mid-morning winter light (not that bad either) and no encounters. A little bit depressed I started looking for static subjects, at least to activate the shutter few times.

This morning made me think about nature photography, how it is similar to gambling. After hours of waiting, or even days, one good sharp photo must generate the same mental processes than a good hand during a poker game does, or a win at the roulette table. I guess, I'm not a gambler.

So.. after three hours of playing this game of walking in the mud, listening for reedlings calls, and exchanging some discouraged comments with other photographers, I was almost calling it a day. And then I got the couple of kings: a family of 3-4 bearded tits flew exactly in front of me, and started feeding. This did not last more than 1 minute and a half, but was enough to take tens of photos.

After it all ended, checking the camera for sharp photos and finding them, well.. I felt like I won some big money at the roulette.

I think that there are two components in wildilfe photography. One is the artistic one - the most important - that is showing interesting subject in good photos that represent the environment in an original and visually appealing way. The second is the gambling, the pleasure of being able to take nice pictures of difficult subjects. While the first is important for the consumers of the photos (readers of the blog, for example) the second is only for the photographer, but still...

One note about the Rietputten, in the winter, when it usually rains several times during a week, it can be very muddy: rubber boots highly recommended.

Thanks for reading. As usual comments and questions are welcome.


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