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Thoughts From The Coast: Of Herons And Cameras

Jackie Mallinson concludes that a camera can impede the quiet contemplation of nature’s wonders.

A while ago, very early in the morning, I was on the beach with my old-fashioned camera. The tide was extremely low. The day before I had my digital camera with me, but on this day I was there with my long lens in the hope of capturing a picture of three herons and a variety of seagulls feeding in the shallow pools.

A person I met, who like me, had never seen this sight before, suggested they were heron gulls. “Not unless they are on stilts,’’ was my answer.

It was one of those mornings of sheer beauty, the sun not yet far from above horizon and the slope of light giving the scene a breathtaking aura.
There was no sign at that moment of the herons.

It is a common sight to see swans sailing along the seashore, then on into the mouth of the river, which begs the question: how they cope with the salt? From TV nature programmes we learn that seabirds are adapted to rid themselves of salt. The answer to one question always seems to lead on to another question presenting itself.
I did get a digital picture of a heron but the image was too small to be enlarged with clear definition. In the past I was content to view nature without attempting to photograph it. The TV Springwatch programmes changed that. I had attempted and failed to get a picture of what I subsequently learnt was a humming hawk moth that sipped nectar from flowers with its delicate proboscis.

I did take pictures of garden flowers, intending to enter them in a competition. However I failed in my attempt to submit them via the Net.
Perhaps I should go back to contemplating nature’s beauties, without a camera.


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