It felt like cheating…

It really did.

I felt as if I were cheating when I took those pictures. How could I be doing this? It wasn’t right. No. It couldn’t be. But I had a hard time arguing with the results.

Sure… there were some of the usual issues. The falling snow interfering with the auto-focus system. The lack of sunshine meaning slower shutter speeds for lower ISOs (thank the Maker for Image Stabilization). But this was different. No freezing fingers, but having to look for cleaner spots through which to shoot.

Still….. the results….

See…. about two and a half weeks ago I ventured out to Aullwood Audubon Center & Farm to take advantage of the rarely sighted sun and do some bird photography. It was, to the say the least, a poor excursion. Not so many birds, but worse, the vantage points from which to shoot around the building almost always lead to the building figuring prominently in the background. Not quite ideal. Not by a long shot.

Dejected I returned home, but found myself back at Aullwood about two-weeks ago to discuss a matter with the front desk. While there I visited one of the bird watching rooms (a nice room with books and comfy chairs looking out through a large glass window upon some of the feeders) and noticed there were tonnes of birds present. Tonnes. That’s a lot of birds. But it was snowing and I remembered the poor background issue from my adventure the week before, but suddenly it struck me.

“I can shoot from inside. Through the window!” And so it was I rushed back home and back to Aullwood in the rapidly falling snow. But as soon as I arrived back at the room I realized how this entire idea felt like cheating. Cheating because I wasn’t outdoors in the snow and cold. Cheating because I wasn’t carefully stalking my prey. Cheating because I’d be snug and warm.

Again though…. I cannot argue with the results.

However, it wasn’t all sunshine and bunnies. While the glass window had very recently been cleaned it doesn’t take long for it to get a bit messy, which meant being careful as to where I shot through. And I’m fairly certain the addition of this layer of glass between me and my subjects matter only softened the focus of many of the images.

Yet here I am with about 20 or so real keepers of cardinals, finches, & woodpeckers. It was one of the very few outings where I came home and had a devil of a time selecting the very best as so many were that good. And while it still feels like I cheated I’m not going to argue with the results. Maybe in this instance the ends did justify the means.

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8 thoughts on “It felt like cheating…

  1. well, they are damn good.. shot through a window or not! And auto-focus you say? I am afraid I am going to have to start using auto-focus…my eyes aren’t what they used to be. Sadly, I take a “good” shot only to find out later that it’s slightly out of focus (I love shooting manual, but sadly going to have to give in šŸ˜¦ )

  2. Thank you Kym. I think the additional layer of glass did impact a few of the images, but on the whole it wasn’t too bad. I think the low lighting was the true enemy.

    And thank you Tamela. While still being 20/20 (closer to 20/15 according to my optometrist) I’ve often found manual focus to be unreliable with my eyes. I really think autofocus works very well almost 100% of the time. I always thought you meant something else when you said you shot manual. I thought you meant you set the shutter speed and aperture, but not going manual focus.

  3. I do that too…i do set the shutter speed and aperture…i do everything. My dad taught me to do all that. He’s an old school photographer as is my uncle. šŸ™‚

  4. Nothing wrong with old skool. For me I only venture into full manual when I’m trying to do something very specific and Aperture or Shutter modes won’t accommodate my desires.

    I shoot almost exclusively in Aperture mode because it suits my desires most. I find I most often have need to control the depth of field.

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