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On the Importance of Rules

"Life is short, break the rules." ~ Mark Twain

I was mildly confused.

I was standing at the Mandovi beach, on the last leg of my trip and looking out towards the sea. From where I stood, I could see quite a few birds on the shore. Bharat, the owner ( and an exceptional guide ) of Epicentre Birding , where I was staying, had told me that there will be quite a few migrants out there, including some uncommon birds.

I had arrived here the previous evening after spending a few days in the Little Rann of Kutch. It was glorious to be out in that unceasing, unbroken expanse of land, under the hot sun, feeling the caress of the cool breeze. However, photography wise, I had meagre returns. There were few sightings and when we did have them, they were, shall we say, unremarkable photographically.

Well, that’s how the coin rolls sometimes.

Hence, the question I was tossing around in my head was - Do I play safe and go for the ‘safe’ shots ?

After all I didn’t have many photos to show from my trip so far. This was my first and much anticipated for trip to this beautiful land, but so far, the crop has been underwhelming. It was tempting to play safe, leave out trying any new stunts and aim for some definite ‘keepers’ from this lot.

Or do I just let myself go and experiment ?

Try out all the new things that I had wanted to and had put down as my goals from this trip. I might end up with not a single half decent image from the whole trip. Or, on the other hand, I might learn something. Maybe, even get a few images I like.

I recollected a line from one of the interviews I had read recently – “ one day, when the mythical Irbis appears in front of my lens, I hope I will find the courage to blur it.”

Mythical birds ?? I just had some shore birds in front of me !!

I guess, it really wasn’t much of a decision.

I let myself go and broke all the rules.

I shot looking into the sun ( But, how will anyone see your subject clearly ? ).

I over exposed while doing that ( But, who does that while shooting into the sun ? ).

I tried slow shutter speed. ( But, what about sharp images ? )

I tried moving my camera while shooting ( Blasphemy ! Is it a camera or a paint brush ? )

I broke all rules of composition ( But…Rule of thirds !? Breathing space ? The way the eye travels through the frame ? )

Here are some results.

How do you feel about them ? Which image ( if any !! ) do you like the most ?

I shall leave you with another quote which sort of summaries my morning :

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun – Katherine Hepburn

Morning light, shimmering across both the water and land and an unimpressed gull goes for a stroll

One option was to get that sparkling background and a frozen moment...

...the alternative was to convey a sense of a bird in a hurry !

A smooth take-off against the golden background...

...or a fleeting capture in cooler colour tones

Framed !!

A seagull scans before swooping down


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My choice Swooping Seagull, bird in a hurry and morning light shimmering .

May 06, 2023
Replying to

Thanks! My choice keeps changing :) - tho I quite liked the shimmering image, simply cos it is a rather different one from what I normally take and have seen :)

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