5 Frames Shooting the Birds in St James’s Park – by Simon King

(cover image by Amanda)

I’ve heard from many of my friends that the C19 pandemic lockdowns for them represented a process of reconnection in some way. Some took the time to get back into reading, others playing instruments they had long ago put down. I found myself on daily walks with barely a glimpse of life in the streets, so began to venture into the local London parks.

These aren’t spaces I necessarily avoid, but I find that park life is often not what I am looking for in my usual street photography. While I wouldn’t say I’m disconnected from the spaces when it comes to people-watching, I usually miss the potential for the wildlife; even the relationship between the wildlife and the park guests.

I ended up spending quite a bit of time in St James’s Park specifically, documenting the small community of people who would come and feed the birds – mainly pigeons, parakeets, swans, coots, and the occasional pelican, as well as the squirrels on a good day. I also took a step I usually never take, which is to participate somewhat – birdseed is cheap, even poundland stocks it – and it is rather wholesome to feed the various animals who gather around; very good for my mental health I’d say.

After a while of doing this I think I have quite a few images I’m happy with – some nice scenes, details, and moments. I’ll probably look at curating these into some kind of zine in a few months or years, once I have a sequence with no gaps. I have a few decent introductory and transitional images, so my attention now is towards detail in those interactions, close in on hands, claws, beaks.

I’ve shot using quite a few films, but mostly Kentmere 400, which is a good cheap walk-around for when you aren’t expecting much to happen. Although I’ve used my rangefinders here I think the best results come from my SLRs which allow versatility in terms of my lens options – most recently I’ve been using a macro for real close details.

Thanks for reading! If you want to stay up to date with my projects, follow me on Instagram! I buy all my film from Analogue Wonderland.

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