July 2019 - Failing at Photography


I’ve had a tough month photographically speaking. Sometimes things just don’t flow and like anything, photography needs lots and lots of practice.

I’ve failed in July and have only taken a few desultory photos.

I’ve also tried and failed to produce a YouTube video about sunbirds at Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens and at the Aloe Farm.

It’s a great time of year for these shots, with the metallic and brightly coloured sunbirds shooting around between the petals but for some reason I feel uninspired.

Walking around with a tripod, camera, Wimberley flash bracket and Better-beamer is a pain. Trying to video yourself doing it while perplexed flower fans look on, is downright embarrassing!

But it’s not just embarrassment and fear of vlogging in public that has stopped me, it’s also an unwillingness to get out of bed, out into the cold morning air, an unwillingness to drive up the R146 million national embarassment of the R511 as well as an unwillingness to sit in front of the computer for the days it takes to produce a video or some shots.

Maybe, I just need a break? It’s possible to photograph too much and I think that is doubly true in the digital age. (read the Digital Curse)

With so many images to sift through, deciding which to take on and develop is a job in itself. If one adds the work required to edit a video it’s very easy to understand why burnout becomes a real issue.

So July has been slow. However, I did visit Ndumo in June and despite the troubles I had there, I was able to turn up a few shots I’m pleased with. This is one of them.

The brackish black-water pans at Ndumo are bordered by Fever trees and it’s the shade that these cast that provide the backdrop for this picture.

I thought that the tonal difference between the bird and the water deserved some emphasis so under-exposed by about 2.5 stops. If your interested to know more about the technique, you can watch the episode on my YouTube channel.