Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Has Bird Photography become too easy OM-1 vs Morrey Salmons Glass plate camera ?

 I recently had the pleasure of visitng Skomer to photograph puffins with bird photography expert Rob Cottle and the technical experts from OM System UK where I was kindly loaned their latest flasgship camera the OM-1 

I was easily able to get some excellent pictures of the puffins as I hope you agree from the small selection of images that follows here. 

One of the key aspects of the day was to try and get pictures of the puffins in flight and the Bird AI features of the OM-1 really did lock in on the eye of the bird and enable you to track and get multiple pictures of the birds

Puffin in Flight

It was equally good at locking on the birds on the ground of course 

Puffin with Sand Eels

And dealing with extemes in dark and light in the same picture 

Razorbill resting

Guillemot keeping an eye on things

This got me thinkging about the amount of equipment that I was carrying (and my shoulder did feel the weight of the camera bag by the end of the day) and the number of images that I had taken (over 500 across the 2 cameras I was testing) and how that compared to the incredibly hard work that Morrey Salmon, his photographic partner Geoffrey Ingram and various other family and friends went to to get one or two images at a time (depending on the camera back that they were using) 

Take this for instance it is simply titled GSCI (Geoffrey Ingram) photogrpahing Herring gulls nest 22 June 1911. We have not been able to identify the location as yet, but clearly the Welsh coast or islands because that was the limit of their travels at this time. From the scan of the full negative you can see the safety rope from the cliff top (BTW thatis not approved belaying technique)

And from this cropped in version you can see the size of the camera and tripod and the size of his accessories bag which is about the same size as the camera bag I was carrying three cameras and lenses in for my day out.

As if climbing down a relatively gentle sloping cliff wasn't eough, Morrey and Geoffrey weren't averse to lugging their camera up a tree to get a picture. This photo by Morrey Slamon shows  geoffrey Ingram up a tree to photograph a Spassowhawks nest

Cropping in a little allows you to once again see the scale of the equipment

And they were not limited to natural obstacles, old buildings were scaled with the same level of skill and amounts of equipment such as this odl mill from St-y-Nyll near cardiff pictures taken in July 1911 whereby you can see some once again non approved modern safety technique

They clearly both made it as can be seen in this picture and from the fact we know this partnership went on for another 5 years or so

So maybe things have become a lot easier, but we all owe a debt of gratitude to these pioneers who proved that it could be done, and done well as more pictures that we share will no doubt prove.  


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