Do You See What I See?

If you can remember how excited I was nearly a month ago when I accidentally took a picture of a bird on a distant post that turned out to be a belted kingfisher, you can probably imagine how excited I was last Friday when I encountered several kingfishers on my walk.

I encountered a pair at the beginning of the walk when I heard a strange ruckus across the Nisqually river and saw a pair of highly irritated kingfishers divebombing a flock of crows. Obviously they didn’t want to share their catch with the crows in the ‘hood.

Though the kingfishers were too far away to get a decent picture even with my 400mm telephoto with 1.4 extender, after nearly a half hour of watching one landed close enough that I could get this picture, far better than the one I took a month ago, though still far worse than the “perfect? picture I’m looking forward to taking soon.

I saw them twice more before the day was out, both times much closer than in this shot. Unfortunately, both times they were zipping back and forth rather than sitting in a tree. If I’d hadn’t had the extender on, the auto focus feature on the lens might have allowed me to catch a shot of the kingfisher in flight, but auto focus is disabled when using the lens extender. Such are the limits of technology. In order to see farther away one must often sacrifice the ability to see what is right in front of us.

Such moments have me thinking more and more about the impossibility of accurately capturing, much less conveying, any moment. My excitement at experiencing a bird up close isn’t really diminished by my failure to get a good photograph, though it obviously makes it more difficult to share that moment with you, dear reader.

Of course, the fact you’re likely sitting at your desk at work while reading my page makes it even more difficult to convey the feelings of walking the five and a half mile loop at Nisqually and observing birds you’ve never seen before.

For all I know, you may even be as indifferent to and unaware of birds as I was a few years ago. If so, how could you possibly know the excitement I felt at seeing a bird I’d never seen or heard in a lifetime of hiking the Pacific Northwest?

For all I know, you’re merely some poetry fanatic come here for a quick poetry fix and can’t imagine why anyone would be interested in photographing birds, or flowers, for that matter. If so, why are you still here reading such nonsense. Get thee to a true poetry weblog; there are several fine ones listed in the link column.