The internet is populated by brilliant wildlife photographers. To reinforce this point, I googled “wildlife photography.” Big mistake. I easily get lost for hours browsing stunning pictures of exotic places, incredible views, candid moments and gorgeous scenery, all captured in crisp and vibrant detail by dedicated amateurs and true professionals.
And then there’s me.
My photography is comparable to the game played with babies called Peekaboo, where something in front of me tries to capture my attention (I’m the infant in this scenario), but I’m usually too distracted by the waving hands to focus on the face they keep revealing.
Worse still, even if I do notice something worth photographing, I’m usually too slow to take a decent picture. Then when I am fast enough, I don’t have patience or technique. Point. Click. “I hope that turns out…”
How about a few examples? I’ll spare you the blurriest stuff.
In Lassen Volcanic N.P., arriving after a long, visually-monotonous drive, I fished out my camera and snapped this picture of the trees (having expected a stark landscape, like the moon):
And then I glanced lower, almost by accident:
While in Tennessee with Cousin Billy, I naturally got caught up taking pictures of the trees (maybe I have a tree obsession?), when Cousin Billy drew my attention to one particular branch:
I wanted a better picture. (I should add that I accidentally took these pictures on my camera’s hard drive. Oops!) Look how far this slow insect crawled before I managed another shot in focus:
I stopped trying after that, before the insect metamorphosed and flew away while I still fiddled with my camera.
Even things that don’t move get past me. It required Royce telling me where to look and what to look for in Bryce Canyon N.P. to spot this unique formation hidden along the canyon wall. Do you see the curled up cat?
Here’s an even better example. During a hike with Royce in Zion, we stopped often on the trail for photo opportunities. Royce regularly laid down on the ground, zoomed in, and waited for inspiration or luck or the right light or the wind to stop blowing or whatever to take his shot, only stopping once satisfied. His results are genius.
I spotted this flower, unlike any we’d passed. Royce missed it (but not others like it down the trail). I took my time and really worked on this photo. Only when I viewed it at home on a larger screen did I spot the stowaway under the leaf: