Scattering Impala

impala running into the bush

Yesterday, when moving some files around on my computer, a JPEG of this photo ‘appeared’ on my desktop. I must have extracted the JPEG at some point but I don’t recall it.

The EXIF data on the original RAW file tells me that I took the photograph on 24 September 2019, and that I shot in manual mode at 1/400th second at f6.3 with the lens at 300mm. What the photo doesn’t tell me is where I took it, but it was on the Eastern Cape in South Africa when Tamara and I were there.

It’s funny, because at the time I probably lamented that I was getting a shot of the impala running away, rather than a classic ‘full body’ shot. But now I like the movement and the scene. I probably see more in it that another person, because I was there – but I like it nonetheless.

Being There

My wife, Tamara. made a comment during our trip on safari to South Africa. She said that with all the TV nature programmes she/we had seen, it was sometimes hard to feel that we were really there when there were animals in front of us.

What she said has slowly penetrated my brain to understand it is a profound statement. The worlds we can experience now are unlike anything from previous centuries. We can be anywhere in the world that the camera has been. Of course, being there in actuality is different. But it takes effort, and in one sense, the images that are seared into our brains are stamped in, whether from a film or from being there.

I think there is another ‘problem’. I have travelled quite a lot. And I know from experience that when I am in a new place, my senses are easily overwhelmed. The world seems to speed by me, or I speed by the world. It takes an effort to stop and slowly let the world come to me. Then I start to discern detail.

I have discovered this technique of slowing down works even in familiar surroundings. I mean really slow down. Really slow down. Walk at a pace that is considered unnatural to others, even slower than dawdling. It means putting one foot in front of the other consciously, and looking around as I do.

Try it if you don’t do it already, and I think you will discover a whole new world of detail.