Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms

Balanced on the mountain


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
...Read More

Balanced on the mountain

4 Sep 2021 11:15AM   Views : 620 Unique : 395


From a Melanie song, Little Bit of Me: the song goes on ‘with the people all around, who say that I’ve been up too long, and want to bring me down’… It poses questions about perfection and aspiration. And it came to mind looking at an old photo magazine, with a pre-digital football shot, one of the most perfect sports pictures I’ve ever seen.

Brendan Monks of the Daily Mirror shot it, and won a prize in the Ilford photographic awards in 1987: pre-digital and telling the complete story of a goal, and telling it beautifully. And then I wondered whether there are millions of pictures like this one, because some photographers will get a shot this good from every goal they witness. Actually, I think it rather unlikely.

So what do you do in between your best moments? Do you give up and dig the garden instead? Do you bend your efforts to becoming world rally champion? Or do you keep on taking pictures and trying to make them better? It’s an important question, and I’m tempted to answer with a line from a Kris Kristofferson song: ‘ever since the first I had the worst I had was good’ – while any one of us may misplace our Mojo, what we do in our specialist areas on a bad day is probably still not bad.

But what to do during a dry period… Certainly not give up completely, but it may be wise to concentrate on something away from our core interests. It’s a time to explore new areas, possibly to look at other people’s pictures more, and to mug up on the theory behind the pictures. All of these are likely to spark new ideas to try out, and trying amount may get that Mojo fired up again.

And of course I know that it’s much easier to say them to do. Part of what goes on in life is that we gradually learn humility and patience. The period of limited creativity that you’re going through may be necessary to the next step in your development as an artist, or at least as a competent technician. As they say, when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade. And keep on keeping on.


Recent blogs by dudler

Focus scales

If you’ve been taking pictures since before autofocus arrived, you’ll be very familiar with focus scales – they are one of the primary controls on an old-school camera, and just one more of the things that you really needed to get right. With autof...

Posted: 27 Dec 2022 7:01AM

Porcelain processing

People commented on the look in my last post and it seems like a good idea to share the secrets for Christmas. I learned the technique several years ago: a model’s boyfriend told me about it, and a website that described it in detail: I tried it, l...

Posted: 23 Dec 2022 10:47AM

You develop your own films don’t you?

If you have your own darkroom, or if you use film cameras regularly, there are always a few people who mention the attic. As in ‘Grandpa’s cameras are in the attic. I don’t even know if they have film in them!’ This leads me to ask if I can have a l...

Posted: 16 Aug 2022 11:17AM

Choose your pond

There’s an old saying about being a big fish and a little pond. Do you want to be the most important person in a small organisation, or are you content being a relatively small cog in a big machine? It’s the same in photography. With relatively mo...

Posted: 3 Jun 2022 2:25PM

Graduated filters

This is for Hannah, and anyone else who has come across the casual way that a lot of togs talk about one or two types of filter that landscaper photographers use a lot: graduated filters and neutral density filters. A graduated filter is one that i...

Posted: 25 Apr 2022 12:18PM


dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
4 Sep 2021 11:16AM
And an excuse for another shot of Amber Belle - a new model holding an old model... The Exakta is around 60 years old.

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join for free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.