Staring into the sun trying to locate a distant voice. Seeing a bit of shadow swimming through woodlands. Driving along while trying to snap a photo of something resting atop a building.
Being prepared has little to do with successfully capturing an image when the subject and circumstances conspire against me.
I try, though. Oh how I try…
Two male brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater). An old deer stand at the family farm quickly transformed into a makeshift bird feeder. The blue plastic tray hanging above the ground is filled each day with birdseed, and that beckons to a variety of winged beasts who visit from dawn to dusk—and probably well into the night.
A male belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon). His raucous cry had me searching high and low trying to find him. Much to my dismay, he flitted from tree to tree as I ran along some distance away attempting to follow him. Finally realizing I would never get close enough for a respectable photo, I took aim despite not being able to see if I was or was not focused on the right tree.
A pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps). Cunning little creatures, these grebes. They disappear beneath the water’s surface if they perceive a threat. When they return to the surface, they can be one to three meters/yards away from where they vanished. I hurried along the shore of White Rock Lake trying to snap a photo of this critter as it continually dove out of sight only to pop up in random directions and distances from where I lost sight of it.
An American black vulture (a.k.a. black vulture; Coragyps atratus). Driving home one afternoon, I spied this beautiful bird preening in the bright sunshine. Attempting to navigate Dallas’s busy streets while holding a camera out the window to snap photos is not something I recommend for the faint of heart. Oh, and this irony was not lost on me at that time or when I viewed these images later: the vulture was sitting atop a hospital.
A white-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica). During my first visit to the Audubon park near White Rock Lake’s spillway, I stood in a ravine with dense woodlands all around me as a spirited creek bubbled along on its journey to larger waterways. In the dim light of predawn hours, I heard more than saw a bird land in the treetops quite a way from where I stood. I snapped a few photos despite the distance and despite not knowing what kind of bird it was.
A male hairy woodpecker (Picoides villosus). Its size and its beak differentiated this common animal from the downy woodpeckers that also inhabit the area. The rat-tat-tat knocking in the treetops above me drew my attention as I walked home from the lake, and against the contrast of wintry limbs and bright sky I nearly gave up trying to capture an image so high up from such a disadvantaged position far below.