We’re well and truly back into the swing of things here at The Photographer’s Mail after our summer holiday. I made the most of the good weather that we were given and went on various native bush walks around the North Island, taking in our country’s beautiful landscape and all the native birds. In one place alone, I managed to see at least 10 native birds, including the beautiful kaka and takahe. We’re very lucky here in New Zealand to have such unique ecological features — and, as an added bonus, they make for some stunning photos.
Everywhere I went, I would find myself thinking, and often saying aloud, “That would make such a stunning photograph”. However, at the end of my holidays, when I was looking through those I had actually taken, there were very few. In some cases, there’d be a maximum of five images for a three-hour exploration. I started to think about what a shame it was that I hadn’t captured more photographs to remember my break, but then I realized that I didn’t need those prompts to remind me of what a great summer I had had or of all the amazing sights I had seen — I came to the conclusion that sometimes seeing things with your eyes in the moment, instead of delaying that appreciation for when you look back at a photograph, is pretty special.
After a year of reading about photographers who have been lightening their loads when it comes to the amount of gear they take when they travel, I really feel like I understand where they are coming from. Sometimes, it’s nice to take a step out from behind any form of technological screen, whether that’s a camera on a tripod, your cellphone, or your laptop or iPad, to just appreciate the space you are in. I can’t imagine that the experiences I had — walking up steep hills, along edges of cliffs, and precariously making my way across rocks while avoiding falling in the water — would have been nearly as enjoyable while lugging a backpack full of camera gear. It was nice to know that all I had to worry about was a cellphone in my pocket.
However, I do appreciate the select few images I did manage to capture over the three-week break, and I do look at them often while I am sitting in my office, daydreaming of being back outside in the sunshine, lying in the shade of a tree, and reading a book. Plus, they’re making my Instagram account look pretty gorgeous at the moment, so that’s always a bonus when you’re as addicted to social media as I am.
Happy 2016 to you all, and I hope you’ve all entered it refreshed and motivated to kick-start your endeavours for the year.