There is something very powerful about an image. It captures a moment in time and creates a memory that can be shared and viewed time and time again.
Digital technology means that we’re all photographers now. Where-ever we go we have a camera in our possession: smartphone cameras are astonishingly good and produce really high quality pictures. And with social media channels, such as instagram and Facebook, we have the places to share the stories of our life and what matters to us.
Photography has always been an essential ingredient of telling the story of the natural world. But now its a much more democratic process where beautiful pictures of wildlife can be used on popular TV programmes such as Springwatch, sourced from the hundreds of thousands of fans that connect with the series via twitter, or can be liked thousands of time on instagram feeds.
Puffins on the National Trust’s Farne Islands
The ornithologists of the twenty first century want to get the best shots they can of birds in flight and butterfly collecting is now about the exchange of images of Large Blue’s rather than pinning them to a board.
Wildlife pictures work whether a close up of a particular species such as a beetle or a landscape picture of a meadow, orchard or bluebell wood. They are very important ways of helping us to understand what is happening to nature and also our place in nature.
So, why note use your camera to help us find out more about the wildlife in the places that we live and love to visit time and time again.
A few weeks ago I read a piece in the Weekend section of The Times about our addiction to smartphones and mobiles. We just can’t stop checking our phones for texts, facebook posts, emails. In our minds there is a real fear of missing out. And this growing anxiety now has a name – nomophobia.
At the time I was staying in a bunkhouse on Glower in south Wales with my family and some friends. I’d not taken any kind of digital device with me – mobile, smartphone or tablet computer. And it was bliss.
I spent my time talking to people, reading and doing nothing in particular. I felt totally relaxed and refreshed and connected with the world around me.
My job in PR means that I’m always contactable and constantly trying to keep up with the news and spot opportunities to generate media coverage. Its so easy to get sucked in to having your phone as a kind of digital comfort blanket. I have to admit that I’m into twitter big time and love checking out websites for the latest news and features.
But we all need down time. Work today mainly involves staring at screens for hours on end and there is a real danger that we never give our minds the rest that they deserve.
So for the next two weeks when I’m holiday they’ll be no screen time. Yes I’ve scheduled a few tweets. But my tablet and smartphone will be home alone. I’ll be using my newly found digital-free time to enjoy the real worl and re-charge my batteries; not having to worry about emails or keeping in touch.
I suppose its a kind of screen time cold turkey but hopefully it will mean more balance in my life. Its so important to have moments of idleness and enjoy a less technologically dependent period of time. I’ll let you know how it went when I’m back.