To See is to Believe.
....the absence of pictures is intentional!
I recently replied to a tweet referring to the quiet of woodland pointing out that woodland is not quiet at all, day or night, it is rather noisy.
Through looking so hard we seem to forget our other senses and this also linked in with thoughts I had been having post another tweet on the subject of masses of people causing large scale disturbance to an Adder in order to obtain a photograph.
The pre-occupation with sight and with capturing it on a memory card as proof of the moment and for all to see.
Everyone loves pictures, everyone loves showing you their photographs more and now and with so many social media outlets out there you can share your images with millions with a simple click. I trained among other things as a photographer, so I am not anti-photography at all but I will share my experience.
Getting the perfect shot.
Many is the day that I would venture out after many trades of photography equipment until I possesses a pretty good DSLR and a heftily priced lens, heftily priced for me anyway around £1,200 for, as photographers would put it- ‘the glass’. Without relating many tales it is safe to say that while I did gain some shots that I was very pleased with my ratio of ‘that was a wasted day’ days sky rocketed.
What had happened? Quite simply I had moved from going out to enjoy the day to going out with a purpose to photograph this or that and of course the adage is ‘the best laid plans of mice and men’…
I had stopped noticing most of what I was seeing so focused was I on the image I wanted to capture. I had stopped enjoying myself. A car accident several years ago left me with a weakened shoulder and fortuitously this resulted in lumping the camera around being a right pain. Literally.
I still always carry a camera but now it is one of those small compact cameras which is useless at taking photos long distance (even though it boasts an impressive zoom capability), but it takes nice general shots and the zoom is great for anything close bringing it improbably close. But… I have the camera in my pocket and in truth rarely use it and only after I have actually enjoyed myself- enjoying the experience first and then maybe taking a photograph.
So while I appreciate photographs and they allow the inclusion of others in your experiences my advice is leave the camera in your pocket, your brain will do the recording for you and you will get to experience the sights rather than letting the camera do it for you.
Sight is our dominant sense or it is if we forget about our other senses. We have a preoccupation with ‘seeing’ things. Listening to bird song isn’t enough we have to strain our necks backward to squint up into the tree to see the purveyor of song.
As I’ve got older my eyesight has necessitated glasses and quite often I find myself taking my glasses off as I am ‘tired of looking’. The flip side is that I am very happy just listening. I am happy to listen to the Song Thrush in the tree, I don’t need to squint up into the tree to know that it is a Song Thrush.
Running the Hedgehog Rescue people often ask ‘how do we know if we have hedgehogs visiting?’. After going through the signs that can be seen I then add, ‘and the best way is to sit out in the dark in the garden and just listen. They really are surprisingly noisy creatures pushing their way through snuffling as they go’. The most often reply to this is ‘I had never thought of that’.
The local wood is only a mile from our house and we have started making late evening trips to the woods sparked off I must admit by my finding lots of signs of badger activity. Jayne and I the other evening sat in the woods from early evening to well after dusk (from a respectable distance from the Sett) waiting for the possibility of a glimpse of stout familiarly marked head. We did not get a sight of them but their activity was most definitely audible.
Talking afterwards Jayne was keen on the idea of nocturnal visits to the woods but she informed me that ‘ we need to get one of those night vision things as it was getting a bit boring not seeing anything’. I suddenly realised that we had had very different experiences that night. At no point was I disappointed or bored, I was enthralled by the activity around me.
A fox in the dimmest of light had wandered within 10ft of us as we sat with our backs to the trees hiding our profile. Although only fleetingly seen its progress was easy to make out as the sound of a pounce came through the darkness. Crashing coming from scrub twenty or so feet in front of us spoke of deer (and the green glow from a Muntjac’s nervous eyes from a quick blip of red light torch confirmed this). A Tawny Owl hooted away in the distance behind us. On top of this was the unmistakeable snuffling progress of multiple badgers at a location I judged to be on our vantage point side and just on the periphery of the Sett. A visit by myself the next day revealed lots of fresh snuffle holes right where I thought that they had been the previous evening.
The Truth is that I didn't need to see anything. My ears were giving me the whole story and all that I needed to know. Other senses heighten as well and at one point the smell of Fox was overpoweringly present.
What is the point of all of this? Well, I guess that it is my ponderous way of saying stop looking and find a whole new experience by flexing the muscles of your other senses. We love TV with high definition and surround sound. Well, we come with inbuilt HD, surround sound, smell, touch and taste, time to use those and explore the least used senses, although I don’t suggest licking wildlife!