Hennie van Heerden's Wildlife Diary

May 14, 2010

The responsible photographer

Filed under: May — Hennie van Heerden @ 11:22 am

Had been invited to join Dennis Rademaker today, to try and capture the Kingfishers he’d found in his hometown. We went out really early in the morning and had the hide standing at 7AM. Almost immediately after we got ourselves comfortable (uh… well, as much as possible in the confined space of a 1m3 hide) the male kingfisher showed up, with a still wriggling fish. Spent a couple of hours with these gorgeous birds before we decided to try our luck at an area in Holland, known for the rather rare Purple Herons. While waiting for them, we got tipped off that in the neighborhood Bluethroats had their nests. I was thrilled, as this beautiful bird is so high on my wishlist, so we immediately took off. We quickly found the spot the other photographer had told us about, as his tracks were clearly visible by the trampled reeds. We set up tripod and camera and waited. And yes, very soon the Bluethroats made their appearance, flying on and off to the bramble bushes very close-by.

But something bothered us, the birds all had prey and were waiting to bring it somewhere and all of a sudden we became aware that the nest had to be very near where we were. Too near, as the bird was apparently too scared to bring the prey to the nest. As we both think that nature photography has to be done without disturbing that same nature we quickly moved away from the spot, allowing the bird to feed its chicks. We came back on the road and a fellow photographer approached. He asked what we had seen and explained that we had seen the birds, but we didn’t think that a photograph was worth disturbing the nests. The photographer totally agreed with us and talked about the irresponsibility of some photographers who’d do anything for a shot. After a while we waived goodbye and walked on to find some Terns we knew would be there. But that turned out disappointing so soon we were on our way back. Too soon for some because who do you think we caught on that exact same spot near the Bluethroats? Indeed… The ‘responsible’ photographer, snapping away, even closer to the nest than we had been.
Guess his words about irresponsible nature photographers didn’t apply to himself……

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