Tag Archive: wildlife


Connecting With Nature

 

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There is something magical about connecting with a nature being. I like human beings too don’t get me wrong…but I feel privileged when a nature being lets me into their world. It’s as if they are saying to me: “you are trustworthy”.

 

I recently shot some photos of a couple of fawns in our yard and didn’t realize that our neighbor was watching the process at the time. I saw him a month or so later and he said something to the effect of “ How did you get so close? They run away when they see me”. I guess my answer would be I go into my Dr. Dolittle mode. It’s a sort of communication mode I suppose where I gently talk to them as if they can understand me and perhaps they can who knows? Maybe it’s not even so much about what I’m saying but rather the intent behind what I’m saying. Animals can sense your energy or vibe. That’s why an animal like a horse with attitude will buck you right off its back if it senses you are afraid and not in charge.

 

When I get overly excited about shooting a nature being weather it’s a butterfly or a deer or even a bear and I have more of a stalking energy about me I generally do NOT get a shot. They sense that they are being stalked even if it is only camera that is being used for the “hunting”. I’ve had quite a bit of luck when I ask them “ can I take your picture?” as well. As crazy as that sounds it really does work! And don’t forget to say thank you when they let you get a shot.

 

Do you have to be in that calm happy place to photograph nature beings? I don’t think so… because even if you are super stressed out, if you have the time, it’s a great time to go for a nature walk which in itself will often set you on the path to calmness and that oneness with nature feeling. Once there, shoot away! It’s a special feeling when you reach that still calm place and you will know when you do because that is when nature beings begin to trust you and let you photograph them.

 

Happy shooting everyone. 🙂

 

 

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Every summer my husband & I try to get in as much beach time as we can on Assateague Island. I like to go for two reasons.  One is for the beach of course and the other is for the amazing wildlife . Assateague Island is a unique beach destination. Because of the nature of Assateague Island and the fact that it is a designated National Wildlfie refuge it draws  people there who are not there just for the beach but to see the wild ponies and diverse wildlife as well. Assateague Island is a haven for nature lovers, birders & photographers alike.  There are no hotels or resorts on the Island since it it is a National Wildlife refuge. Visitors to the refuge generallly stay on the Island of Chincoteague which is a small island so it does not bring the large crowds to the beach that a typical Eastern Seaboard beach would have.  There is only one road to the beach and two parking lots that seem to shrink a little each year as they rebuild them every year when the winter storms wash them away. Although Assateague has grown over the years and is busier than it used to be it is still a slower pace than the other beaches which makes it one of my favorite places to visit in the summer. It is a great place to photograph, egrets, herons, sand pipers, sika deer, wildflowers, dragonflies and the list goes on and on.  The photos pictured above were taken on the last trip we took in July which was made even more special when a great blue heron decided to pose a while for me before he flew off in search of fish.

I love just about all creatures but if I had to pick a favorite I think it would have to be the hummingbird. I have been fascinated with these amazing little creatures with wings that beat so fast that they are a blur, and with a flight pattern unlike that of any other bird. These amazing little creatures can fly backwards and hover in space!  They are truly amazing! I’m not sure how or why I got the idea…perhaps I was bored as a teenager as many teenagers are.

Growing up on a lake outside of a small coastal Oregon town, there really wasn’t a lot “going on” in the mind of a teenager so I had to find ways to entertain myself.  One summer I decided I was going to make friends with my favorite bird.

We had a hummingbird feeder hanging on our deck where I loved to watch the hummingbirds. One day I stood on a chair near the hummingbird feeder with my face a few inches from the feeder. I stood there & stood there and stood there… for a very very long time. The little hummingbird was cautious but eventually decided it was safe to drink next to the human’s face. I could feel the air from its tiny beating wings on my cheeks, like a little fan. I was delighted!  But why stop there? I decided I was going to get one to perch on my finger. More time…more patience…more holding really really still but eventually the patience paid off and one landed on my finger! It was so tiny I could barely feel the weight of it on my fingers. I felt like this was a major life accomplishment.

Fast forward from a teenager to 20 plus years later and I still love my little hummingbird friends as much as I did all those years ago. The flowers in my yard are not there by accident. Nearly all of them are selected because they are flowers that the hummingbirds like. I’m always sad to see them go in the fall when they return to their wintering grounds to the south but every year I count the days until their arrival in the Spring being sure to mark the first sighting on my calendar so I’ll know when to put their feeders out the next year.

This last spring, not long after they had begun to arrive on a nice warm day, we had left the door open in our living room that leads out onto our deck. All of the sudden there was this loud buzzing in the living room! It was a wayward hummer that had strayed from the outside deck into our living room. He instinctually flew towards the bright windows on the other side of the living room. I ran for my cat and locked him in the bathroom and then quickly returned to the window, cupped my hands around the distressed little hummingbird and caught him like a little moth. He was chattering at me once I had him in my hands but I quickly took him out the door and opened my hands and away he flew.

At the time I thought it was just a simple bird rescue but it has proven to be more than that. It was the beginning of a special friendship. This little guy seems to know that after I rescued him that I won’t harm him and he seems to trust me like no other hummingbird has done before.

We live in the mountains and share the mountain with all kinds of wildlife like bears and raccoons so over the years we have learned after replacing a few crunched feeders that it’s a good idea to bring all our birdfeeders in every night. Part of my morning routine besides making coffee and feeding my kitties is hanging the bird feeders. Every morning like clockwork my new little friend now greets me and before I can even hang the feeder on the hook he has landed on the feeder while it is still in my hand! I patiently wait for him to finish and then I hang the feeder. Often I’ll come out on the deck and greet all the birdies and tell them it’s breakfast time and now he even seems to know my voice!

The other day the honeybees also discovered my hummingbird feeder so I decided to move the feeder to a new location. I told my little friend I was moving it. I couldn’t see him but he must have been watching and listening to me because when I went to the hang the feeder on the tomato cage, he again landed on it before I could even get it hung. Later in the day the bees disappeared so I moved it back  to where it was and again my little friend followed me! Before he flew to the feeder though he flew to me and hovered in front of me for a second as if to say “thanks!” and then flew on to his feeder. We have other hummingbirds too but they are more skittish and none of them seem to have the trust and the friendship that this little guy and I share. Perhaps he remembers the day I rescued him from the confines of our house.

Whatever the reason is that this little guy trusts me, I consider myself very lucky and I’m glad to have friends or rather “a friend” in high places.  🙂

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