Either iCal or I suffered a senior moment a couple of weeks ago when I noticed that I was scheduled for a dental appointment May 24th. As usual, I arranged to have lunch with several Vancouver friends, only to discover that the real appointment was June 12th.
I figured it would be rude to cancel the lunch, so I drove down anyway despite the high cost of gasoline here in the PNW, $3.49 per gallon. Luckily it was a great lunch with some interesting discussion, followed by a long visit to my old hiking partner.
As a result, however, I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time at Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge as I’d wanted to, and the sun was settling in the East by the time I got there. Needless to say, it made the photography harder than it would have been otherwise.
For instance, the highlight of the day was sighting a male Ruddy Duck in full color:
I was certainly happy with how close he came, that blue bill stands out beautifully, and his tail is standing up in the traditional pose.
Unfortunately, the light was behind him and much of his body lacks detail, even after trying to compensate for shadow in Aperture.
This shot, taken later after he had moved to the other side of the pond,has much better overall exposure, but he was further away and I couldn’t get him to pose as he’d done in the earlier shot.
This frustration makes me appreciate good wildlife photography more than I would otherwise because I realize just how many hours must have been spent to get the perfect lighting and be in perfect position to get the shot the photographer wanted. Heck, it even gives me an excuse to fill up more of my hard drive with imperfect shots of Ruddy Ducks until I actually get the one I want to get, not to mention lingering over that Canon 600mm lens that I’ll probably never own.
I had different problems trying to get a good picture of a Cinnamon Teal, a bird that seemed everywhere on the refuge, though I’ve only seen one in the wild before. They spend most of their time in the weeds along the shore, so most of the time I actually flushed them before I knew they were there. I had many blurry shots of foliage with no apparent sign of a bird, but I did manage to get this one
which has a certain appeal despite, or, perhaps, because of, the blur.
My favorite shot was probably this one
because it shows the Cinnamon Teal in its natural setting, even though later I got another shot in a pond that had even better resolution.
In the end, it was a great day even though I felt a little guilty wasting a tank of gas and thirty plus dollars on an unnecessary trip. Maybe I need more senior moments.