The last time I went to the lake, I learned an important lesson on the necessity of coming prepared whenever you are trying to take pictures of wildlife. Animals generally don’t want you to be anywhere near them, so, if they see you, you generally only have a few moments to capture an image before they are gone.
When I went down to the lake the week before Thanksgiving break, I decided not to put my camera together and get it out until I was down on the dock. It is quite weighty around my neck and I did not want to carry it all the way down like I normally did. As I approached the lake house, I saw across the water a large white spot. I thought it was a goose, considering the large swathe of white feathers on their stomach, and proceeded to walk down as normal.
But, as I got to the corner of the lake house, the whole white spot quickly turned around. In that moment, I realized I wasn’t looking at a Canadian goose, but instead a huge bald eagle that was resting on a piece of driftwood. Quickly, I swung my backpack off my shoulders and crouched down putting my camera together while trying to hide behind the house without losing my view of the eagle.
Before I could finish placing the lens on my camera, the eagle flapped its wings and swooped low across the water for a solid hundred feet or so, and then soared up into the air, circled for about five seconds, and then flew away around the bend next to the dam. It was the perfect opportunity for a shot and I missed it by a couple of seconds. I would always walk to the lake with my camera up and ready, and the one time I got lazy, something amazing happened. While I did not get to take the photo of the eagle, it was still an astounding site to see such a rare and elusive bird.
While at my house over break a few days later, my mom shouted out that there was a hawk sitting on our chicken coop trying to figure out a way to get in. I ran upstairs to get my camera and put the lens on, but, as soon as I returned, I watched the hawk fly away. This strengthened by resolve to get a photo of it and make sure I would be prepared next time. So, I kept my camera in the living room underneath the couch with ample view of the chicken coop, and sure enough, it paid off to have it that close.
Two days later, the hawk was back, and this time I was ready. I grabbed my camera and quickly (but quietly) headed outside and started walking towards it slowly to get as close as I could. And, I snapped this picture. I consider it one of the best photos I have taken of any bird to date.
After missing the opportunity to photograph a bald eagle, and later having my preparedness pay off with this photo, I know for the future that I will always be completely prepared before I go anywhere. I cannot let another moment slip through my hands.
Thanks for reading,