This is just like television, only you can see much further.–Chance the Gardener (from Being There)
Unlike the utterances of simpleton Chance the Gardener in the film Being There, things said or done in strange birding territory are unlikely to be perceived as brilliant by the locals–or anyone else for that matter. Travel birding generally doesn’t give you the time to get many good shots, especially since you don’t know the conditions well or even where the birds are. Generally it takes many hours of observation in a place you know well to see or photograph something interesting or unusual.
Case in point: Entertaining fantasies of becoming a world birder, I have begun building my ornithology library again. I just added Herons and Egrets of the World: A Photographic Journey by James Hancock. Published in 1999, the images contained within were captured on film and are a mixed bag. I can only imagine the difficulties involved in documenting avian species on film under what must have often been hostile conditions. The book has, however, provided some more exotic species to be added to the bucket list to be seen and photographed.
Below find my travel birding exemplar. Despite working pretty hard to get a decent shot, the following is typical of my only encounter with a Great White Heron. Some consider this bird to be a color morph of the Great Blue Heron, others a subspecies. Being such a rarity, I’m sure this bird is hounded everywhere it goes by birders. We probably chased this bird for an hour. It was quite wary, and I felt a little guilty about running around after it. As added barriers to success, the light (or should I say glare) was white, and it seemed some knuckle-headed ibis or egret always wanted to stand in the way thus lousing up the shot.
Like my dad used to say, “There’s nothing so bad that it can’t be used as a good example.” In life, as in bird photography, all you can do is keep swinging.
©2018 Christopher R. Cunningham. All rights reserved. No text or images may be duplicated or distributed without permission.