Early Saturday morning, just before the sun made it out of bed, I headed out to a park about a half hour away to meet other photography students and an instructor. We explored the Hawk Woods Nature Center, with it’s large pond and trails.
It was cold, only 44F degrees (6.66C) and I hadn’t dressed warm enough. But I figured once we were moving, and in the woods, I’d be fine. I was wrong.
This park, on this particular day, challenged my belief that there’s always something to photograph. Though there were beautiful purple asters I wasn’t noticing much else in the way of fall color.
The pond was fringed with tall grasses, making it hard to appreciate. But I did notice this guy sitting across the way when I passed a break in the grass.
But still, what else to shoot? The class stopped at a wildflower garden, but I wasn’t really into it, as I have the same flowers in my own yard. So I meandered away from the pond and into the woods.
I am always most comfortable in the woods. Not much color in there, but still, it drew me in.
After a bit of time in the dark green woods I went back to where the group was still concentrating on the flowers. I moved on down the trail that circles the pond, looking for anything interesting.
Brown is a color, right?
Down at the end of the pond I came across a couple fat warblers and a chickadee hopping about in a shrub. I didn’t have the right lens, and while I was changing lenses they flew away. But I was happy to see them.
By now my fingers were freezing, and my broken little finger was aching, a combination of the cold and carrying the camera, so I decided to pack it in. I’m not writing this park off, I think if I had dressed better I’d have stayed and found more pretty things, and given it’s not so far away I will definitely go back.
On the way home I stopped and got a warm drink, trying to make my finger feel better. I stopped at a rest stop along the freeway, to toss the cup when I finished the drink, and as I was getting out of the car I noticed a flurry of activity in the crab apple trees lining the sidewalk.
Could it be my favorite birds? I heard the distinctive excited chirp. My camera already had the long lens attached and was sitting in the passenger seat. My fingers were no longer cold.
I grabbed the camera and crept up to the trees. AMAZING. There were adults…
I know people stopping at the rest stop thought I was insane as I was creeping around the trees with a big ole camera. But I ignored them, except when they slammed car doors and the birds rose up into the air as one. Then I scowled at the clueless drivers. (Not really, it’s a public rest stop after all.)
There were so many! They’d fly from the trees near the bathroom over to the trees on the other side of the parking lot, and back again.
I was having such a great time. And in a rest stop. But I actually squealed when I got home and looked at the images. Because I had captured this:
So the point of this post is that there always is something interesting or beautiful or original, or fun to shoot. And you should always have your camera ready to go, because you’re never going to know what you’ll see when you keep your eyes open.
Many thanks to Bob DiTommaso and his wife Juliann for hosting the meetup. If I hadn’t gone and wandered at the park I wouldn’t have stopped for a warm drink and to toss the cup and I never would have seen the cedar waxwings.
Plus I found some pretty things at the park too.