First there is a warning quack, then a resounding quack-quack followed by the fluttering of wings. “There goes Mr. and Mrs. Duck” Tammy will say and we watch the pair skim over the water in the same easterly direction. And so the chain of events repeats itself, day in and day out as we take our daily walks. Ahhh, summer in the mountains of Southern Colorado.
When I was a kid, I’d take an old shoe box, poke a hole in the end of it and tape a piece of black and white photo paper inside. It always amazed me how I could miraculously produce a photograph using such simple tools. Today, it amazes me that with all of the fancy equipment I can’t seem to get a wildlife image that looks much different from those pinhole camera pictures. Shooting photographs or video of wildlife is an art form that I have not neither mastered. I am persistent however and I have the desire, a combination that will eventually unlock the door to success.
So, back to that elusive pair of Ducks and the comical scene that unfolds each time I try to photograph them. I’ve done everything shy of dressing in camouflage and building a duck blind to capture their image. I have indeed, crawled through the grass on my belly and hidden behind a nearby shack a number of times. Holding my camera in shooting position, I peer around the corner as if I’m an FBI agent on a drug raid. “Quack…Quack Quack….Flutter Flutter”, they’re gone before I can take command of my focus ring.
It seems as though the same scenario plays itself out no matter what the subject matter is. Tammy and I drive everywhere with cameras ready and tripods extended for when and not if we see a heard of Elk, a Bear or a Mountain Lion. The way it really seems to work is quite different from what we anticipate though. In the past 7 days, we have seen a Blonde Male Bear, a Black Male Bear and a Momma Bear with three darling little Cubs. When we see something really great there is an adrenaling rush and a very confusing attempt to communicate with one another that could easily lead to disaster. “Stop” “Go” “Roll Down the Window” “ Move out of my way” “We need a new windshild” are the types of things you might hear in that moment. It’s not uncommon for me to lose my mind and attempt to take pictures from a moving vehicle, while I am driving. And then there are the times when we are whispering and moving very slowly to get into position. I open the door with the key still in the ignition and the “ding-ding-ding” announces to the whole forest that we are there, larger than life.
So go easy on me when you judge these pictures. They aren’t as easy to get as you might think. You can bet that I will be bragging it up when I finally get that award winning wildlife shot.