Dusting off the camera
January 20, 2022

A warm salty breeze rushes past as I sit and watch the tempestuous waves crash upon the rocky shore. I realize it has been a while since I have held this telephoto lens, and its natural balance in my palm brings back memories of my not-so-distant daily escapades. While I cannot be sure what this year holds just yet, I surely hope that it includes so very many photographic and resulting journal entries to bring to you. There certainly are many new projects to explore as well as countless places to see.

With 2022 well on its way, I have quite a few to-do's landing in the queue. Firstly, there are stories and photographs from yesteryear excursions that I really cannot wait to share. It may take a while to catch up on these backlogged items, but fear not, for they will remain a priority. Secondly, I am still in the midst of migrating posts from my previous website's journal, and I plan to have this completed within the first half of this year, thereby concluding the last step of the upgrade. And most importantly, I will be populating the projects page meticulously to bring you the larger stories behind each of the gallery postings, but I'll share more on this goal later.

In the meantime, here are a few images from the first photo outing this year. I missed my customary early start and had to resort to a busier shoreline. Locals were out and about, and as a result, few shorebirds were around. I patiently sat on the rocky outcropping, and as the rain began to fall and the crowds thinned, one, then two and all of a sudden, too many birds arrived to greet me.

The first was a spotted sandpiper, eyeing my rock as it zigzagged about me. With enough time, it approached to feast on the bountiful resources my rock had promised.

And then a very large whimbrel meandered on over, meticulously extracting delicacies with each step. It was fascinating to watch this one, backdropped by the roaring waves and a faded blue sky. For some reason, this bird also decided that my rock was the better one on which to hang out.

Farther away stood a black oystercatcher, cautiously poking about the rocks. Having seen its fellow feathered friends congregate, it flapped a few times and landed to partake in the feast. It pulled barnacles and other mollusks from the rock, and carefully pried the edible portions with its long beak. Unlike the other birds, this one ate at a more languid pace, confident stood given its larger stature.

Not long later, two least sandpipers landed on this same rock and immediately began probing at the shallow tide pools around me. I have never been so close to such small shorebirds before, and after just a few pictures, they were within the minimum focusing distance of the lens, and I put down the lens and just watched them feast next to me.

This whole experience reminded me of why wildlife photography continues to be so rewarding. It's beyond taking photographs, and even being outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. One of the most special feelings I've experienced is the trust that wildlife can exhibit to me, a complete stranger. I can feel such a trust grow over time as the cautious flightiness yields to a comfort level that encourages a symbiotic partnership and understanding.

I hope you enjoyed these photographs, and I'll be back soon with more photographs!