The big blue truck delivers me once more to that little spot on Muddlety Creek where the fishers gather. A strong Spring breeze ripples through the cattails as the song of the red-winged blackbirds sweeps across the marsh. The cattails are filling the landscape with their fluffy windblown seeds and if not for warm sun it would be easy to imagine myself in a snowstorm. I am parked behind some tall bushes that hide me from the songbirds well enough that they ignore me if I stay in the truck and shoot through the open windows. The challenge is to find an opening through the branches that doesn’t interfere with the lens. I was focusing in a male displaying his red shoulders and calling for a mate when he suddenly dropped into the reeds and the whole swamp fell silent. It was like someone turned off the radio. Out in the distance I saw the movement of a huge set of wings as pumped their way to altitude and locked. At first I thought a great blue Heron was on its way to wade the area where I was set up. But as the airborn shadow came closer I could tell it’s neck and legs were way too short. Then the massive bird banked and saw the white belly. This was an osprey.
The ospreys are really just now making a significant comeback to my mountains. Like the eagles they suffered from use of DDT and low birthrates made them a rare sight that was only experienced on the coast. The fact is that this is only the second time I’ve seen one in West Virginia. The large predator silently circled in and was way to swift for the narrow field of my long lens and way to high for a wide angle. One of the most amazing things in nature is the sight of a large raptor hanging motionless in mid air for several seconds but that’s exactly what he did. The range was still well outside of the comfort zone of my 300mm lens but it was the only chance I had to capture the moment. I could tell he was scanning the water below and that he was about to dive. Suddenly he dropped from the invisible perch created by the air currents and fell like a living bomb. His dive took him below the line of sight and I lost him behind the cover of the bushes. I could hear the splash but couldn’t witness the action. It was only a matter of 50 yards or so but it was more than enough to prevent the shot of a lifetime. This time. After a talking to a few people I learned that the osprey is favoring my favorite marsh as his hunting grounds and so there’s a chance that if I can be in the right place at the right time I’ll have a second chance. After the splashing ended I saw him take to wind once more and he circled for a while but never came within decent range of the camera. Some days are like that. Actually, a lot of days are like that. But as they say, ” The third time is a charm.” Within the realm of photography the moment was a “qualified success”. I did manage to catch a few shots but I can do better if the bird cooperates. For now I’m obsessed with the idea. There’s only two ways to deal with it. Give up and blame rotten luck and not quite being in the wrong place or learn from the experience and make adjustments for when the next opportunity comes along. I know he’s in the area and I know that I’ll be back in that spot from time to time. I’ll also know not to pick that angle again if I can avoid it. The difference between winning and losing is the ability to not quit. It’s a quest now.
I moved the truck to the spot where the osprey had made his splash down hoping that he might circle back to grab another fish. However the gift he gave me was a parting shot that cemented my resolve to keep trying. Never give up.
Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.
For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.
We also have the Lloyd’s Lens Photography Discussion Group on MeWe that is set up as a fully functional community. There you’ll not only be able to see and connect with me but you can also make your own posts and interact with each other.
I want you to join my group on MeWe: https://mewe.com/join/lloydslensphotographydiscussiongroup
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Hey Friends! Just a quick reminder that Lloyds Lens Photography is available for portraits!