Have you ever had one of those extra special personal interactions with wildlife that you never dreamed could happen? Well I have, and they keep me out looking, waiting for the next time that nature reaches out a feathered wing, a leafy branch, or a furry tail. The more time I spend outdoors, the more I love the small and simple things - so common and yet not.
As I went out this morning for a walk with my wife and new 7 month old daughter, I found the lighting perfect to capture some great images. I have been taking plant photos for another project that I am working on. There are so many new plants (weeds) that I don't know, having never lived on the plains, that I want to identify, so I take close-up pictures of plants to research later. I compose my shots carefully to show the common in unusual ways, so now I have quite a collection of Beautiful weeds. What a calendar it will make some day.
Well, that is not really the story that I wanted to tell. When climbing fences and taking my time to find something to add to my plant collection, I found myself face-to-face with one of my very vocal neighbors (Cassin's Sparrow). So why not photograph him too? He must have known he was my subject for a special photo shoot today. At close range, he permitted some great poses. Although not brightly colored, nor unusual in appearance, his flight and song make him a real treat to see so closely. I always consider this a gift and always appreciate it. After taking many pictures and having front row seats to his flight display, I wanted to get a picture. I am finding it almost impossible to do with my digital camera. The shutter and autofocus seem never to be in sync. I sometimes get a blur of wings or a blank shot of the sky. Maybe that is why I take pictures of plants. They don't seem to leap out of way.
There he sat on the barbed-wire and begged me to come closer. I failed miserably in getting a flight photo, but was then given a much better gift. As I leaned up against a power pole to steady myself and get a little cover, he popped up from the brush onto the fence wire about 15 feet away. As I was directly in line with the fence, my camera focused on the post in front of him. So I leaned out for a better view, and the bird seemed to feel my desire for a better shot. He started to hop and walk, foot-over-foot, down the wire toward me. I just stood there gawking and never even thought about getting it on film.
Before I knew it, he was only 6 feet away behind the fence post. Then, as if to play peek-a-boo, he leaned out and looked around the post at me and then leaned back. He did this several times before jumping into the air and landing on the wire agian. I could nearly reach out and touch him. He displayed several times as I tried to take some arial photos. It seems such a small thing, but the interaction was so real. I am better for having experienced it and to have taken the time to slow down and see and hear.
Is this sparrow only common like a weed, or is a weed a flower fit for framing? I only know that I will continue to collect beautiful things: weeds, flowers, sparrows, rocks, and images. My world is like a buffet with so many things to taste. I love to take some of everything, for I may find my new favorite, but will always come back to the common everyday things so familiar to me.