Mostly likely you’ve heard the axiom, “can’t see the forest for the trees.” In nature photography the experience of being outdoors and the special moments that are sometimes presented are easy to overlook in pursuit of a perfect picture. Savor those unexpected moments, even if you fail to get the shot.
For example. Last week I was visiting a spot where I can sometimes get a nice photo of a Whitetail Deer or two. I had gotten up early so I could make it on the trail right around daybreak. The plan t was to hikeg in to a spot where I frequently see deer and wait to see what might develop. On may way in I heard a loud snapping of a limb behind me. I turned to look down the trail, expecting to see a jogger, mountain biker or dog walker, to see a hands lome buck only thirty feet… maybe less… standing on the trail and staring at me! The light was still dim and I knew the chances of me getting a usable photo hand-holding my 150-600mm telephoto was poor, but of course I had to try. ISO 2000, f/5.0, 1/30 of a second at 150mm does not give you good odds. I fired away as the buck circled around me, back on to the trail, ambling on to wherever he was headed. He did not raise his tail and “flag.” The deer never really showed any sign of concern nor alarm. At one point I swear he was close enough for me to reach and touch touch him!
As I watched him disappear down the trail and off in to the trees I could not help but think about what an amazing experience that was. Even if not a single photograph was clear enough to document the encounter, I still got to have one of those special moments in nature that so many never know. It is experiences like this that motivates me to roll out of bed at “O-Dark-Thirty,” tolerate biting insects, slosh through mud and push past brambles. Photographs are just the icing on the cake. Being out there is what it’s all about. So keep in mind as you pursue that wonderful nature photograph, “don’t miss the forest for the trees.” Embrace those amazing moments, even if you fail to get the shot.
Did I get any in focus shots of this buck? A couple.