2016—Turning Stones

Too often, my enthusiasm for photographing wildlife results in disappointment because I get so excited to be so close to these wild creatures that I forget that, to them, I am a gigantic, scary creature to be avoided at all costs.  Without thinking, I will lurch toward small birds, schlepping my equally intrusive camera rig and when I set it down, the birds have disappeared.    Time and time again, Moose has reminded me to slow down, take just a few steps, keep my eye on the subject continually, and assess the subject’s temperament before moving forward.  Is the bird nervously looking around or is it relaxed and feeding or preening?  Late one afternoon as the sun was setting in Corpus Christi, I wanted to photograph a Ruddy Turnstone at the water’s edge so Moose coached me.   I was in the lead, three other photographers were directly behind me, clumped together as a cohesive group.  We inched forward toward the Ruddy Turnstone who was busy turning up stones, looking for something to eat.  Five steps. Stop. Wait. Assess the bird’s reaction to the movement.  Five steps.  Stop.  Wait.  Assess the bird’s reaction to the movement again.  It took us about fifteen minutes to get close enough for a decent shot.  Our efforts paid off. Our subject  didn’t react to the group of photographers slowly approaching a few steps at a time . I hope next time I try this I’ll be as successful. 

Ruddy Turnstone.jpg