February 12th, 2005

krazy koati

With that smile a little bold

The speaker at the seminar on photographing animals in the wild was a fast-talking Australian with a Powerpoint presentation that didn't work from his laptop. He copied it to another and got it to work, for the first 110 slides. The projector refused to go past the 110th slide, and he had to stop and restart from 111 to finish the hourlong talk.

The first trait of a good nature photograph, as best as I could copy, is being cute. ``Cute'' was demonstrated by raccoon cubs. It also shows behavior, demonstrated by a hawk wringing the neck of a duck against rocks. This would seem to break the first rule. Next was that pictures should be colorful. He showed a picture of a blue-tailed bee-eater bird, which had a green tail. Blue-tailed bee-eaters are seasonal in Singapore, leaving, he said, as blue-necked bee-eaters (his picture of which had a blue tail) fly in, and vice-versa. Both types of bee-eater live together simultaneously in Malaysia. It was at this point I suspected he was making stuff up. Finally good pictures should show action. This was demonstrated with an osprey in flight. I think he liked birds.

The ``hands-on'' session started at the Barbary Sheep, quickly rejected because the light was behind them; the group went to the White Tigers, who were asleep. When the professional photographer types took out tripods, mounts, cameras, and lenses bigger but less believable than the Death Ray Beam Of Death from Star Trek: Nemesis I felt embarrassed by my little camera. My ego was saved only by people using camera-phones. As they explained in detail why a stable tripod was good my eyes glazed over, and I wandered off, so I caught the otters, binturongs, raccoons, and kangaroos just as they were being fed.

Trivia: Doge Pietro Grimani of Venice was a Fellow of the Royal Society of England, the only Doge so nominated. Source: A History of Venice, John Julius Norwich.

Currently Reading: Son of Groucho, Arthur Marx.