Did you see the digital image of the weasel ‘riding’ a green woodpecker in flight? Well more than 12 million people viewed it in the first week it was on the web so there’s every chance you did! Amazing wasn’t it? A once in a lifetime observation of nature shared with millions.
This got me thinking about the power of photography to engage people with nature through taking images and sharing them.
|Pied wagtaill perched on David's North car wing mirror|
It's only very recently that so many of us carry cameras nearly all the time – cameras on our mobile phones, or small digital cameras that quite often enable both macro close ups and ‘high power zooms’ to be taken on one small device. Never before have so many people had the equipment to be ‘nature photographers’ combined with the opportunity to share images almost instantly, and not just with friends and family but with literally millions of people online. It’s said that as many ‘photos’ are taken every two minutes today as were taken in the whole of the nineteenth century!
|Grassland jewels, photo by David North|
Dorothea Lange said, ‘A camera is a tool for learning to see without a camera.’ How often have I photographed flowers only to discover back home that the image includes small insects that I hadn’t even noticed at the time. This certainly inspires me to look more carefully and makes really try and ‘see’ next time I’m looking at a plant in close up.
Carrying a camera also simply encourages observation. Every time someone takes a photo they have found something that interests them: photography is surely the art of observation and encourages us to see the interesting and the detail in ‘ordinary’ places. Of course the nature around us in these ‘ordinary’ places, perhaps a garden or a park, or just a ‘simple’ patch of grass or tree, is by no means ordinary. We live in an extraordinary world and sometimes it takes a small digital camera with a macro lens to remind us that’s the case.
|Small copper, photo by David North|
Is it possible that the growth in digital photography can inspire more people to look at the world around us in new ways – to see detail that would otherwise be missed? To capture the ephemeral and fleeting and allow it to be wondered at long after the moment has passed and in places far away but connected digitally across the world.
People are sharing their experiences more and more, and many of those do relate to the natural world; perhaps not surprisingly as it’s our habitat too. The possibility to instantly record and then share has huge potential to profoundly alter the ways people are experiencing and being inspired by nature.
The famous pioneer landscape photographer Ansel Adams said, ‘It is my intention to present – through the medium of photography – intuitive observations of the natural world which may have meaning to the spectators.’
|Grey dagger moth larva, photo by David North|
Share your image of Norfolk's wildlife on our online gallery and be inspired by what others have seen.