Thursday, 28 June 2012

Seeing the island - a volunteers view

Lucie's view of the island and its visitors seen as a volunteer.

Time is flying… It has been already 4 weeks since I arrived on the rough sea to the May shore. And it has been great. There hasn't been a day when I didn’t feel privileged .To be honest, even though I love nature I have only seen most of the sea birds just in a book or a TV. Here, they are literary everywhere. And it wouldn’t be me, if I didn’t bring my best friend camera with me, and of course the excitement of seeing and capturing something incredible from this tiny place in the world. I see many visitors with much better cameras and lenses than I have. They are pumped up with adrenalin and cannot wait until they are let free to explore the island. Many times, I can feel the expectation to see the unseen and to get the "special" picture. We are a part of nature on the island, and unconsciously some visitors put on a show just as ‘entertaining’ as the nature on the island. They are not hunting for food, mates, but for the best shot ever. I am a passionate photographer myself so I know what it is like. And I have more opportunities than most to produce an image that make me feel incredibly puffed up with invisible feathers of pride. Yet the peace of the island calms me down and I take time when working outside painting blue signposts or going to dig out muddy path to be prepared for nature spectacles. There is no need to hang out down the cliffs to see a bird in its element or walk through the fields to see a new migrant, I am not a ‘mad’ birdwatcher who would travel 4 hours on plane to see one bird. I don’t say, that bird watching people are doing something wrong. But I think that the unexpected also comes when my eyes are open and I have no exact expectations. I was painting the blue signposts, the sun was hiding behind the clouds and sun beams escaped the hug of clouds from time to time. And there it was, a guillemot sitting on top of a rock cleaning its feathers. The sea behind it was dark with a thin silver layer from the escaping sunshine. Campion and lichen in the front of me gave it the full 3D image. Just a few meters away, there were puffins with beaks filled up with sand eels and an odd sprat; sitting on rocks and looking around to choose the best time to take off and get into its burrow to feed its chick. I didn’t need to go and search for any speciality, it just came along when I was pottering around the path. Some visitors think the Wardens welcome talk is not necessary and just eating up their time to photograph their list but I think that maybe taking time, walking slowly seeing with open eyes rather than through a camera is the best advice to feel and experience the incredible power of this tiny island.

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