One morning I received a telephone call from a designer with Cambridge Seven Associates who was working on an animal habitat display project for the Philadelphia Zoo. The display was for Australian budgies .. also known as wild parakeets. Budgies are found wild throughout the drier parts of the Australian outback, sometimes in the thousands.
Often when I come across an interesting landscape in beautiful light I will stop and photograph it using one of my panoramic cameras. Not with a special purpose in mind … just because the subject looks interesting to me. That was the case with this woodlands landscape. During the previous weeks I had already been photographing the spectacular Australian vistas like Ayers Rock and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. This simple woodlands image (although not on the same grand scale as some of the others) has a certain beauty in it’s own way.
As it turns out, when the designer was looking for a high-resolution photograph of Australian woodlands to be used as a wall mural on the back wall of a new budgies display. she didn’t find many available. There were numerous photographs of the “icons” like Ayers Rock, but few panoramic images of the budgies natural woodland habitat
After years of photographing on assignment and seeking preconceived images that were already “in my head”, I am constantly reminding myself to stop and look around. To be open to what is happening around me. To create a photograph when it speaks to me. When you are out photographing, don’t just focus on the “icon images”. Take time to seek out the images that interest you personally. It could be the way the morning light illuminates a textured tree bark. Or a composition of colors and shadows. Or dew drops on a spider web. What every draws your attention.
I can’t help but think the budgies are happy that I stopped and took the time to photograph their beautiful woodlands habitat.