The other day, I met up with a friend and fellow photographer for a photo walk, through a park in Trumbull, CT. Lechmoore Simms is a very talented photographer who specializes in landscape and HDR photography. He and I wondered along the ponds and streams that surrounded us. We compared styles, discussed strategies, and explored our surroundings. We looked forward to the blooming of the flowers and upcoming greenery. We watched the sky, as the sun slowly fell into the horizon.
As we meandered, lost in discussion and exploration, we looked among the fowl and squirrels for other signs of wildlife. The area is known to be inhabited by turkey, raccoons, possum, fox, hawks, groundhogs, and a plethora of other creatures. Later in the season, the reptiles would also make their appearances. And let's not forget the various fish, bugs, and insects.
Yes, this place is a wonderland of life in the spring, but winter struggled to maintain its grasp, for as long as possible. Only now was its dieing hold relaxing.
At one point, we came upon some geese, pecking along a stream. We stopped, as I warned my companion about not getting too close; these creatures can be territorial. I joked about not wanting to kill a bird to defend myself, and how comical it might look to have to defend myself by swinging one by the neck in order to fend off the other. Grimm for sure, but the intent was clear; we were in their territory, and I wanted to respect that.
We made our way around them so that I could take photos of them from a different angle. Maintaining the same distance that we held before, I shot through my viewfinder. Then the two birds turned towards us. As they approached, I continued to snap away, taking a few steps back in the process.
Still, they came.
"Aww, man! He's trying to defend his girlfriend."
The more dominant one, which I could only assume to be the male, hissed at me, as his mate followed closely behind. I told Lechmoore to move on, while I remained between him and the birds, now raising my arms comically in the hope of appearing more threatening, and not being chased along the road by a couple of over-grown "ducks". I couldn't imagine my pride easily overcoming that humiliation.
I hissed back. The male looked perplexed. I urged Lechmoore along.
Half turning, it appeared that the male had lost some of his interest in defending the area, and wanted to part ways.
His mate appeared to urge him on.
It seemed that the two of us would rather be someplace else.
Each turning to part, his persistent mate seemed to push him towards me. He began to turn back, my way. Still not interested in being chased, I too turned to him. We looked at each other, with what I like to think of as the same idea. In my head it played out something like:
"Do you really want to do this?"
He turned, encouraging his mate to move along. Reluctantly, she did. In turn, I turned to my friend saying something along the lines of, "Man you should have shot that!" I must've looked like an idiot waving my arms around and hissing, like that." We laughed, and joked, and continued on our way.
In time, we met a man with two young boys. He told us of other local attractions, hidden waterfalls, and assorted vistas. After they left, we awaited the setting sun.
After taking our shots, we walked along the shore of a large pond, back to our cars. Stopping at some benches, I removed my wide-angle lens and packed everything away. Of course, that's when not one, but two distinct photo opportunities "of the day" occurred.
While paused to discuss a future meet, a respectfully-sized flight of geese flew in formation, directly above us. They separated a young, naked tree from the moon above, in a dark blue sky. This, as my wide-angled lens and cameras rested apart from each other in their secured compartments; my bag strapped across my back.
"I can't believe this!" I exclaimed. "Can't you shoot that?" I pleaded with Lechmoore. Of course he couldn't. His lens was too long. About the only thing that he might have captured would have been an unattractive underbelly.
They flew off, as I complained to the fates. In taunting response, the situation repeated itself; another group of birds followed the same flight path, and I was forced to relive the moment.
Again, we laughed. Realizing the futility of it all, it occurred to me that not just in photography, but in business and all things in our lives, moments are fleeting. They are precious and should be relished when possible.
Perhaps, had I had my camera at the ready when the two flights flew over us, I could have captured the perfect shot. With little or no notice, my camera's settings might even have been optimal, and the tree, birds, and moon might have even been perfectly aligned. But, would the experience and laughter have been the same.
Living life through a lens is a wonderful and exciting way of sharing an experience with others. Unfortunately, it can remove the photographer from it. Perhaps I cannot share with you the image as it appeared, but I can still relay the experience in words. In my mind's eye, the image is clear.
And that too is as good as gold.