>> Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I mentioned last week that I spent some time standing still in my back yard on a chilly evening waiting for my friend Pierre le Pew the skunk to emerge so I could photograph him. He never showed up, or, probably better put, I gave up before he appeared. I've been contemplating that defeat ever since.
I love photography, and I enjoy the heck out of this whole blogging thing, but I'm beginning to see a problem. The patience required for taking great wildlife photos is contrary to my very nature. I think I'm well described by a line from one of Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey books, where Lord Peter describes his mother as follows:
"Here's my mother by Laszlo - a first class portrait of her, a good many years ago, of course. Not that anything but a very rapidly moving picture could convey her quality."
I do not like to sit still. Not for a minute. We don't have a TV and I am largely pop-culturally illiterate because I cannot sit still long enough to watch a show or movie. I can read because I guess enough of my senses and brain are thereby engaged. The ability to otherwise sit still for long periods of time? Not a talent I possess.
Aside from the patience required, wildlife photographers need to be able to ignore physical discomfort. I can ignore a lot of things - cold, fatigue, hunger, loss of blood flow in extremities - fairly well. What I cannot ignore, however, is bugs. Like these, for example.
My best friend used to spend her summers canoeing in the boundary waters of Minnesota and in the arctic. She has described waking up one arctic morning before the rest of her group awoke and counting something like 47 mosquito bites on one hand before giving up on counting and opting for breakfast instead. I'm sure there are plenty of wildlife photographers who have could have counted that many on one finger while trying to get just the right shot in the arctic. Aieeeeee! No, no thank you. I'll pass. I suspect I'll miss the shot every time while I swat and scare off the subject of the photo shoot.
I figure the only way I can try to compensate for my lack of photography patience will be to spend as much time outdoors with my camera as possible. The more I'm out there, the better my odds that I'll have a critter encounter when I have my finger on the trigger.
Until I have time to spend in the woods and get lucky enough to spot a critter wanting his photo taken, I'll just have to stick to shooting subjects I can bribe to sit still and pose for me.