The Birds

Please look at the picture full size.

It’s said if you are embarking on a long-term or difficult project (especially where photographic distinctions are involved) it is wise to choose a subject that is not on another continent, is easily and cheaply available to re-photograph as the work develops.

I have lived in my current house since 1985, an unknown neighbour of mine has a Pigeon Loft. He exercises the birds everyday at around 5.10pm in the summer. I must have seen a dozen Pigeons flying around in ever greater circles but have not really taken any notice for years.

I noticed them again last week lit by a low evening sun against a very dark thunderous sky and I thought that’s a photo opportunity if ever I saw one.

I decided I wanted to do the birds with the longest possible shutter speed in Infrared. So used my 70-200mm lens on a converted 20D body. The shutter speed at 100 ISO and f32 was around a quarter of a second against a blue sky.

For me the interest is not birds but the shapes, patterns and shadows they randomly create as the they move and the camera is panned. The IR especially against a blue sky will help to simplify the picture, because blue being an opposite colour to red will automatically be darkened in the picture making process.

As you can imagine Pigeons never fly exactly the same circuit twice at a rapid rate of Knots and hence this is a very hit and miss affair. I am glad the nice man at Kodak invented digital photography in 1975 as this would be a very expensive pursuit with film.

So to return to my opening gambit my next long-term project is not on another continent as it has been in the past but just through my darkroom door to the garden.

Wether or not I will be able to keep it up longer than John Blakemore who photographed Tulips for nine years I don’t know.

Does anybody know of a personal project longer than Mr Blakemore’s Tulips?

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012

7 responses to The Birds

  1. Lesley says:

    You are so inspiring Andy, what a brilliant project – thank you for sharing. By the way what is Blakemore photographing now?


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Lesley thanks for the affirmation. I have no idea what Blakemore is currently up to, I believe his current book is a retrospective. Andy


  2. rdwood says:

    Lovely. This picture instantly reminds me of one of my favorite all time books: Masahisa Fukase’s “Solitude of the Ravnes.” But with it’s own unique aesthetic.


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