Following a short hiatus which has included the festive period I decided that it's time to write a few more words. Currently I am sans camera due to it malfunctioning on me over Christmas much to my dismay, especially as since then I have come across many an opportunity to take shots of things that I find interesting yet alas, these moments have passed me by, never to be encountered again. This has led me to thinking about the many mistakes that one makes when learning photography, as so far I am self taught and have had no lessons of any sort whatsoever. So here are just a few of my musings on the subject, which are entirely subjective and things that have happened to myself.
1) Don't forget to take your camera with you. Fairly obvious really, but I've done this several times then instantly regretted it when photographic opportunities have presented themselves. Over the past few weeks that I have been without my camera as it needs repairing or replacing, I have encountered a beautiful Kestrel at around the same time over 3-4 days whilst I was out walking. There it was, sitting on top of a lamp post, fence and other lookout points as it scoured the adjacent fields whilst hunting. How utterly annoying! It even sat still long enough for me to click away and get a few good shots had I actually had my camera with me. I reasoned with myself that it couldn't be helped and I hadn't actually forgotten to bring my camera with me; it was out of my control. However, this is precisely the sort of thing that has happened when I HAVE forgotten to bring my camera out with me, so I have learned that it's always worth taking it with you, just in case.
2) Make sure the camera batteries are charged. So you actually remember to take your camera out with you and look forward to a wonderful morning or afternoon of photography of your choosing then BAM - the batteries have run out. When something fantastic happens of course. Almost as annoying as forgetting to take your camera with you in the first place.
3) Accidentally scaring off your subject. I am a firm believer in keeping a respectful distance when photographing any bird, animal or any wildlife. I cannot abide seeing videos of people on any sort of safari where you see around 20 jeeps surrounding the animal(s) each packed with far too many people. This is unacceptable behaviour and anyone involved is showing zero respect for the animals welfare. It is a privilege to be able to witness an animal in its home environment not an absolute right so if you are fortunate enough to be able to do so then getting as close as possible to get 'that shot' shouldn't be the priority, the animal is. Back off and do it quietly! The ignorance of humans has got many an animal into trouble through no fault of its own. I have never had the privilege of going on any sort of safari, but if I ever did then a trip to India to see tigers in the wild would be high up on my list and I would be horrified to witness any such human encroachment on a wild tigers territory. Closer to home I have been lucky enough to see many species of birds in the garden including the very beautiful Great Spotted Woodpecker, both a male and a female regularly visited the feeders at certain times of the year. Being very skittish birds I was excited at the length of time that they would spend at the feeders, the location of the feeders was quiet with plenty of cover so they may have felt safe. I used to watch them from an upstairs window which provided an excellent viewing station. However, one of the first times that I had my camera to hand when a Woodpecker appeared, with batteries fully charged, I made a huge rookie error by clanking my camera into the window due to being so thrilled to see it and rushing to get myself into position. So off he flew! Lesson learned, they visited many times after that and I was able to watch them until they had finished eating, by being careful and inconspicuous.
These three things are examples personal to myself of mistakes made generally during the learning curve that is mastering your camera and enjoying your photography. I won't even go into technical mistakes and camera settings. Thus far most of what I have learned camera wise has been through trial and error, so when I eventually acquire some new equipment it will be a whole new ball game. One that I cannot wait to dive into! Mistakes and all.