The Great Journey in Photography

Recording History

Great Blue herons at Bolsa Chica Reserve

300mm f4.8 400iso 1/1000sec

The main purpose of photography is to record memories and document history. That is what is now often called “telling a story”. One of the intended benefits of a great photo is that it will evoke emotion in the viewer. Believe it or not the pursuit of sharpness, quality, illusion or emotion is secondary to documenting memories and recording history. I think too often a passionate photographer can lose sight of that.

Over the years I have put together a rather large collection of avian images and I suspect many of you readers have the same. I urge you all to take some time to look through those older pictures from time to time. I know when I do I often find interesting things that I either forgot about or overlooked completely. It is OK to have that “if only I knew then what I know now” moment, but then try reprocessing an image or two that do something for you with newer (and hopefully much better) software, look for the light that maybe you were not experienced enough to see before or just take a stroll down memory lane, pick one that you like and find a way to get it out to the world. Regardless of the quality, we all will be better off for it. I doubt that any of us ever took a picture with the intention letting it sit II the computer for an eternity, unseen, unappreciated and unshared.

The image I posted above was taken quite a while ago, I didn’t ever do much with it because I didn’t think the quality was good. It isn’t. But that photo has meaning. Back in the day the place where I shot that image was teeming with the Great Blue Herons. It was a nesting area with a variety of trees including a few large ones that were dead. The Herons liked nesting in those trees which gave a photographer great views to feeding and their early morning antics. Great Horned Owls nested in the trees with lots of foliage. It was the only place in the area that favored a sunrise shoot also. A couple of years ago, the Winter of 2010 I think, that the area saw unusual rainfall and wind storms. Not by the touch of man but rather mother nature this small wooded area was devastated. Many of the Herons moved on straight away, a few stuck it out for a while but they eventually left too. Today, you will be hard pressed to find a single Great Blue Heron in the whole reserve. I don’t even go there anymore for sunrise because there is really not much to shoot. The quality of that photo is bad I know it, but I took the raw image and cleaned it up as best I could, which is considerably better than I could do even a couple of years ago. I share the photo because it tells a story, shares a memory if you will, of a time that has passed and may never return. Kind of reflects the reason why we took all of those pictures in the first place doesn’t it?

Thanks for reading everyone, go look through your collection and share one with the world.

You can see more of my pictures at


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