Seizing the Moment

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Not all nature photography is easy, and the results don’t speak about the hours we slogged through a swamp swatting mosquitoes, or trudged up a mountaintop in fierce winds, etc. The results are what matter and it’s a good thing the images don’t reflect our efforts but rather the beauty, peace and drama of nature. I have spent countless hours hidden under hedges as a blind, lying on my belly in sand, freezing in snowy conditions while waiting for the light to break, etc., and I’m not alone in this! What we do as nature photographers to capture special moments is often a rather large effort, but dedication to the final photograph is what keeps us all going.

My latest ‘painful’ effort was photographing a mother humming bird feeding her young. I was standing tiptoed on a 6-inch wide wall, leaning against another wall, but leaning to the right about a foot into thin air, to avoid the branch that was crossing the mother’s upper body, and waiting there in that position for her to return. My weight was all on the ball of one foot, and the balance was precarious to say the least; my body was in an unnatural position, and everything ached; but I wasn’t going to give in, because watching her come and feed her babies took my breath away and I knew I had to get photos! So, in this awkward position, I waited without moving for about 10 minutes; thankfully not too long, because she feeds them very regularly. I managed to get about 8-10 good photographs before she flew off, and the pain in my right foot was just too much to do it again right away. I vowed to return in a day or two to make more. But that next visit, the wind was blowing the branch too much, the sun was covered by thick clouds, and the photograph just wasn’t going to work out. Am I ever glad that I stuck it out that first day to get some images!

Road trippin’ through Arizona and California,

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Brenda Tharp
Brenda is an award-winning photographer, author, keynote speaker, workshop instructor and tour leader. Her acclaimed books include Creative Nature and Outdoor Photography, and Extraordinary Everyday Photography.
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