Beginnings in Bulbuls


The first picture I ever took of a bird was the notoriously loud and bothersome White-crested Laughing Thrush. It’s not a good picture, to put it nicely. Not very impressive. Creates a bad impression of me and whatnot. I’m not going to show it to you.

However, the first picture that I took of a bird that I was proud of (to make an understatement) was this one. While coming home from school one day, I heard it calling from a tree; I rushed home for a camera, and then was immensely surprised to hear it still calling. Most birds had had the good sense to scarper by then. I ascertained its position, and… click!

I reviewed the picture. It wasn’t very good.



Click! Click! Click!

I heaved a great sigh and moved a foot to the left. My legs were starting to fall asleep.

Click!….. Woah.

As soon as I saw that picture, I saw my future opening up ahead of me: I would be acclaimed as an international bird photographer. I would go on assignments for National Geographic. I praised myself on capturing the spark of blue in its eyes, the fluffiness of the feathers on its breast, the delicate curvature of its beak (because of course it had nothing to do with the camera I was using, my mother’s new Leika). I congratulated myself on my ‘foresight’ in having moved a foot to the left so that I captured the bulbul against trees rather than the glaring sunlight I was getting before. After the bulbul got tired of me and finally flew away, I went home and immediately proceeded to show the picture to everyone and anyone. It was the beginning of a long and glorious career in boring everyone to death by detailed descriptions of birds and other widllife.

Hey, everyone has to start somewhere.

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