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If a bird makes a sound in the woods

Updated: Apr 11, 2018

This is my first Photography Blog post.

I have profiles on other photo sharing platforms - Facebook - Instagram - Flickr -

However these sites are somewhat limiting. There are distractions here - profiles from other users, advertisements, extraneous technical details. These sites are great ways to connect with friends and stay up to date, but tougher to create a unique mood.

I have been a (hobbyist) photographer for many years. I started out with a 35mm camera. Fast forward to my present day arsenal of cameras: Smartphone, DSLR, GoPro, Drone, and so on. It's much easier to be a photographer than it used to be, mostly because everyone has a camera in their pocket at all times.

I named this article after the philosophical thought experiment "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?". Obviously my title relates to the bird in the photo (and I'm not really a huge bird photographer, but I thought it was an interesting photo). Also because there is an objectively interesting answer to this question that I think is worth exploring.

What is a sound? A sound is a vibration - a wave - that travels through the atmosphere, that interacts with an animal's auditory nerve, which produces the sensation of sound in the brain.

So if a tree falls in the forest, and there is no life around that has an auditory nerve, the answer is no. The tree falling does not make a sound.

If a woodpecker is pecking against a tree, I would argue that there is a sound being produced because that bird has an auditory nervous system. You may disagree, depending on whether or not you believe that bird exists when a human is not observing it, but I digress.

I will leave you with one final thought on this subject. Carl Sagan, a famous scientist whose achievements include working on the Voyager space missions, once said "we are a way for the cosmos to know itself". We invoke the universe. I think there is something very profound in that statement, and one that has implications for one's metaphysics.

As for the photo, I thought it was interesting for the following reasons:

- the background is blurred, it has a nice bokeh effect.

- the colours are bright and cheerful

- it creates a pleasant atmosphere.

I hope you enjoyed reading this!

Rick Sturch


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