March 15th

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

The local wildlife must be just as excited about warmer weather as we are.

So many birds are starting to come back, and those that brave the winter are out and about much more. The Swans have been moving non-stop all week, the Eagles have been around, I’ve seen ducks, owls, Sandhill Cranes, deer, pheasants, etc. etc.

If we’re being honest, that gives me more motivation for this project.

I love documenting daily life (I think it will come in handy when we have kids one day), but I feel like I haven’t moved forward with new imagery for my business. Although the current landscape isn’t ideal (melting snow leaves room for brown, dead grass), it’s encouraging to see the activity start up again.

Today, Paul, Henna and I were walking back to the farm from the woods after a walk, when Henna turned back and started to bark. Paul and I turned, and the Bald Eagle pair was circling the trees. Sure enough, they landed in one of our big trees on the edge of the woods.

SO COOL!

Now, I admit, I don’t have gear envy very much. I tend to just look at what I have and make the best of it. I’m a realist in that regard – the equipment I want, I can’t afford – no need to dwell on it. Maybe one day, but for now, that’s the way it goes. However, today was an excellent example of when I would’ve welcomed a lens with a longer focal length. My 400mm does a lot for me, but for how I shoot, it would be helpful to have a little longer reach.

For those of you who are new to my blog, I tend to have a very reserved, conservative shooting style. I very much believe that humans are pushing out many animals from their habitats, especially in our area, so when I see them find a home on our property (or elsewhere as well), I keep a respectful distance. While others may disagree with me,  I just feel I owe the animals that respect. If I’m invited into their space by them advancing on me (like the Chickadee earlier this week), I’ll take advantage, but I really dislike when my actions cause an animal to move away from me.

So, while this image may seem to you like “you could’ve gotten so much closer, I want to see the whites of their eyes!“, to me, I saw the Eagles begin to shift their weight and look for escape options, so that’s where I stopped. I also want to see them again, so if my actions are perceived as aggressive by them, they may not come back; wildlife photography is relational, and that’s what I love about it.

We have a man who traps in our woods during the winter, mostly for muskrats, raccoons and possums, and he comes to check his traps daily. He walks the same trail each day, not having much interest for anything other than his traps. Because his presence is a daily one, and the same time each day, he’s made the comment that the deer don’t run anymore. They stay bedded down and watch him without much interest; he’s just become part of the wood’s DNA.

I was so inspired by that – to be welcomed into the woods, because the animals know him and recognize him. I think that a lot about my main inspiration, Jim Brandenburg. I knew I always loved art, but when my ceramics teacher was gone one day, and we watched a movie about Jim, I was captivated. He lives near the Boundary Waters, and is always out there. It’s like the animals indulge him, and pose for him.

I strive to be that one day. I don’t need to work for NatGeo, but I would love to end my career with a portfolio full of images I’m truly proud of. A portfolio full of images that have great stories that go along with them.

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