By Eileen Heinz Majors
My diligence in trying to become a great wildlife photographer was reenergized again today. I don’t get many wildlife photos, that’s for sure, but I have been looking for photo opps, and seeing more than my fair share of critters as a result; I just never have the camera ready. I am constantly inspired by local Wildlife Photographer Jan Ramelli. (Her photos are in every edition of Mountain Valley Living Magazine.)
A few months ago I headed out with my iPad Pro to see if I could capture any wildlife. I diligently carried my tablet everywhere I went that morning. I stopped at the meadow where I frequently see pairs of Sand Hill Cranes but there were none to be found. (Last year we got to watch them doing their mating dance ritual.) I went out to the meadow with my Nikon long lens to see if I could get lucky enough to see one of the wolves I keep hearing about in our area, but no luck. I finally went to Clear Creek in search of the Great Blue Heron but where I knew I could capture some beautiful ducks in my son’s backyard. Maybe even some minnows swimming past wildflowers or butterflies hovering over the crystal clear waters of Clear Creek. It proved to be a fun shoot. I never saw a Heron but I was not disappointed with my photo catch, so I packed things up and drove into town to visit my grandkids.
Since I was going indoors, I left my tablet in the car. As we were visiting I looked out the window and there, just a few hundred yards from their backyard lawn, a sleek, muscular large cat crept by slowly with nose to the ground. Two of us saw it. It was amazing. The next day we ventured out to see if we could find the mountain lion’s tracks but all the tall grass was trampled over by recent snows, so once again there would be no photographic proof of anything.
Today was another topper as we are headed off to see what the doc has to say about my husband’s recent knee surgery. So I say out loud, “Let’s see if we see a bald eagle showing us we’re going to have a great day,” not two minutes later as we were soaring about 50mph on the highway outside Chester a large Bald Eagle rose from the pavement beside my door of the car. He flew up and around the front of our car, then circled back in the other direction, bringing his face within a few feet of our windshield. We had to brake so he didn’t hit us. I’d say we’re going to have a remarkable day. I am one that enjoys believing every eagle’s visit to me has some meaning and any interaction with wild animals is just fascinating to me. I’m thinking about looking for a carrier of some sort so I can wear the iPad over my shoulder; maybe then I’ll get that rare shot; maybe not.