As usual the first task of the day after breakfast was to head into the park with The Hound for his exercise. These balmy days in Cork have meant that the Hound needs walking first thing in the morning and last thing at night, it being too hot for him at the height of the day.
So there we were, the Hound was busy playing with his buddy, Bobo and getting a great stretch of the legs. Bobo’s owner was going to do another lap so I thought I would add on one more circuit too. The Hound had other ideas and when we arrived at our exit point promptly marched down by the big wall towards the house. He stopped, nose sniffing at the ground and then I saw something scuttle between his legs.
I was enchanted and enraptured by the scene that greeted me. There was the Hound in front of me, nose protruding forward at the base of the wall, the nostrils could audibly be heard taking in the scent. Just in front of him standing on tip-toes, nose twitching and leaning towards the Hound was a tiny little grey shrew of no more than 5 cm (excluding tail). For a short while the scene seemed frozen before the shrew then darted along the wall looking for an escape route. The Hound just looked bemused, wondering why this little creature didn’t seem to want to play.
My first thought was, blow, no camera. It would have made an enchanting scene. But then, the light in the shade was not great, the colour of the shrew blended in with the wall, would I have had the right lens on? The more I thought about it, the more I was glad that on this occasion I had no camera. The result was that I could just lose myself in this wonderful scene unfolding before me and become fully absorbed by it, rather than be thinking of the depth of field, composition, lens, etc. By the time everything had been right the shrew would have been long gone.
For me it is similar to when I go to a new location, I need to feel the place, the environment, take a walk around to sense what is important, what is the soul and heartbeat before digging out the camera. It is only then I really know what I wish to take and the camera can become a tool to express this.
So while most photographers seem to state that a photographer should carry a camera at all times I completely disagree with this. Sure I might miss some shots, such as the shrew this morning, but I was able to fully immerse myself in the drama.
Many photographers may find the above very contentious and consider that this is why I am not a ‘real, professional photographer’. Just wondering if anyone else would be of a like mind to myself.