Taking What You’re Given

Apple trees encrusted with ice at sunset

Apple trees encrusted with ice at sunset

The other day I went out with fellow birder and photographer Jim Walker to look for a Snowy Owl that had been spotted and photographed in Sabattus. Now, being bird watchers first, our main objective was to first and foremost actually see the bird. After all, a Snowy Owl is not a bird that a Mainer can see just any day.  But as photographers, our hope was to see the bird in a setting and situation that would enable us to get some decent photos as well. So out we went, well equipped with both binoculars and 500mm zoom lenses.

Being familiar with at least some of the Sabattus countryside, we cruised slowly around all the field and farm areas that a Snowy Owl should like to frequent, scanning posts and roof tops along the way. Needless to say we didn’t have any luck.  However, as the sun was getting low, along with our hopes, we happened upon an apple orchard with its trees still encrusted in ice. The setting sun was behind the orchard, which created a very interesting setting. So even though we weren’t set up for landscape photography, with our long zoom lenses, we quickly stopped and got out of the car to take advantage of the scenery that we were given.

With our long lenses we weren’t able to shoot any wide shots that encompassed the whole orchard, so we settled for some tighter, more intimate images of two or three trees. As the sun was low on the horizon with a milky white cloud cover, the sky was quite bright, or hot, anyway, so eliminating most of the sky from the photo made more sense. Here I was able to include enough of the sky to show the warm light from the setting sun without blowing out the background. But I still got the back-lighting illuminating the ice-encrusted branches.

So, the moral of this story; Don’t lock yourself into a preconceived notion of what your photographic outing will be. It’s good to have the extra equipment to change to to fit the situation. But you need to be ready to roll with the changes and take on whatever situation is presented to you. Because you never know when you’ll come across a good photograph.

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