The Chicken or The Egg?

A comment was directed towards me recently about photography related
posts on this blog.  The question was the photographic equivalent of
which comes first the chicken or the egg.  Which comes first, a
photograph (s) or ideas about what to say about mages.  In other
words, the concept, with photos to describe it, or some pictures in
which I try to think of something to say about them?

Most of the time I see an image, it could be one of mine which I have
shared a thousand times before or never (yes that still happens), or
somebody else’s, and a single thought comes to mind, and then an
entire article ensues, which describes the way my strange mind works,
and how I think about photography. However, it also works the other
way and I get an idea, and then I search for images to illustrate that
idea. I guess in my world, sometimes it’s the chicken, and sometimes
the egg.

Today, there was an egg (thinking about my early digital images), and
I went and found some chickens (photos) to use for my purpose.

Sometimes one way works and the other does not, and sometimes nothing
works. When the “nothing works” scenario becomes perpetual, I will
know it is finally time to hang up my keyboard.

The five images below all have some things in common. They were each
made several years ago, but unlike many of the older pictures I show
you here, they were not made back in my days of film photography. I
still did occasionally create images on film at the time they were
made however. They were also made as jpegs, not raw files. At the
time, I did not have the software to interpret Nikon’s NEF files. They
were also made on the lowest grade jpeg setting I had on those
cameras. I was likely trying to save space on the memory cards I was
using. Not a good idea, but it was at times, “workable“.  Of course,
they work better as small finished images than as large.

There is another commonality within the first three, they were each
made in what one might call a domestic setting.

The Snow Monkey and the elephant were both captured (in pictures) at a
zoo. Zoos can afford newer photographers a tame environment with a
‘sure thing” when it comes to subjects. Zoos are great places to
practice wildlife photography skills and to begin to accumulate good
habits.  Note that the image of the elephant is and was when I snapped
the picture, just as much about texture as it was the animal.

Let’s take an aside for a moment. The title for today’ post, The
Chicken or The Egg, is what’s commonly known as a cliché.  The
question/statement, what comes first the chicken or the egg, would be
the actual statement that is used in that cliché.  A cliché of course,
is a statement that is used by many to make a greater point.
Philosophically or literally, in life, what happened first to get us
where we are? What started it all?  The chicken or the egg?

I have my own theological opinions on that, but I’ll set them aside
for today’s post.

I have for years “sort of” used the cliché can’t see the forest for
the trees in respect to photography. That statement is actually in
reference to how people acknowledge the petty, small aspects of life,
but completely miss the big picture. The statement I use for
photography is a reversal of that cliché in that so many often superb
photographers can not or will not, see the trees for the forest. They
perceive and capture the big picture, but so often miss the details
that it is comprised of.

As a for instance, elephants are great animals with an instantly
recognizable shape and can be studied and appreciated in their
totality, but are even more special within their details. Often the
incredible texture of their skin, is completely ignored. We need to
see the forest, but we also need to see the trees.  Without them,
there would be no forest.

Back to where I was going.

As my years as a photographer wore on, I quit zoos completely, but I
already had lots of experience in the wild, and I also already had
“deep” image files.

The flowery scene below was made in a botanical gardens. Old buildings
and domestic flowers just go together, and botanical gardens offer
many opportunities for pictures of such. They are the plant and
building equivalent of zoos for animals.

Ultimately the thrill of the hunt exists with flowering plants as much
as animals, and eventually more time will be spent in pursuit of
flower pix in wild meadows and forests than in gardens.  Those
gardens, help prepare us for the wild.

Now this old shot of a dragonfly was made in the wild. Even if I had
made it in a zoo or gardens, it would have been a wild image.  I mean.
who can tame a dragonfly?

Dewy mornings with “little critters” cloaked in that dew were one of
the largest segments of my nature photography, and I was all the
richer for it. If not financially, then  personally.

As another aside, one microscopically little wrong move of your own
body or camera equipment, will shake all of those little diamond size
jewels from the subject. Move very slowwwwwly, and deliberately.

At one point in my photography, I had made film images of active
Hummingbirds, but I did so with flash. The image below was an early
jpeg with natural light.  I did manage a 1/640th sec shutter speed. I
waiting until it hovered, accepted that the wings would blur (a good
way to show motion), and fired away.  There is an out of focus
building in the background.

So my intended theme for today’s post was early digital images and the
obstacles which they presented. So was that the chicken? Anyway, to
achieve my goal, I needed to “break a few eggs”, so to speak.

Whether I start at the beginning and work forward, or start at the
finish and work backwards,  I will admit I still love writing about

God Bless,

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