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To be or not to be (sharp)?

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With todays modern cameras getting sharp, in focus shots is relatively easy. Even small, fast moving subjects like puffins (see latest work) are within the reach of just about everyone now.
Someone out on the boat the other day was shooting flying birds handheld with an effective 800mm lens and getting sharp images. This is incredibly impressive stuff compared to just a few years ago. The downside though is that any wildlife image that is less than pin sharp is seen as a failure. But surely capturing the essence of the animal or emotion of the scene is what it's really all about. Sterile, perfectly focused dead centre portraits of an animal are everywhere now and getting very samey.
We've had a really quiet summer for marine mammals this year. A lack of bait fish and extensive plankton blooms have meant the dolphins and whales have largely stayed away from the Small Isles. What sightings we have had though have been exceptional. Just the other day we were joined by about 50 Common Dolphins and by slowing right down we were able to watch their behaviour and enjoy the spectacle. It's perfectly understandable that people want the shot of the dolphin frozen in mid air in their portfolio, but for me the more intimate views of the dolphins interacting underwater next to the boat are far more pleasing.
As in all things, it's always a matter of personal choice and doing what id right for you.