Lessons Learned on a Photo Walk

| 1/20/2017 12:37:00 PM

Andrew WeidmanStreamside

I stopped to take pictures on a Friday a few weeks ago on my way home from work. There is a pull-off behind the local mall complex and beside a large stream — trout waters, according to a sign hung on a tree streamside. It may as well have been a different world from the one I left behind at work: silent, still, tranquil, and relaxed.

A flock of mallards patrolled the waters until my intrusion startled them into flight. I captured the takeoff, only to discover I had the shutter speed impossibly slow. Their exodus looked more like a mallard-colored grease smear than a flock of ducks. Lesson one: check your camera settings before you leave the car.

Later, a kingfisher swooped by in a brilliant flash of blue, intent on spearing lunch. There was no time to snap a shot or even lift the camera to my eye, only time enough to see its run. Later I spied it off in the distance, perched among the treetops. Lesson two: some things can’t be photographed, only experienced in the moment.

As I scanned the treetops for another chance at the kingfisher, I turned back towards the car ... and stepped into a muskrat hole I never saw. Fortunately, only my heel entered the hole and not my toe. Somehow I managed to stay upright and hang on to my camera. Had I fallen, I could have found myself covered in snow with a broken camera, or worse, a broken leg. Lesson three: maintain awareness of your surroundings, not just your target.