November 26, 2018
Last night it was pouring rain at 9 pm and by early this morning, we were blanketed with nearly 6 inches of very wet snow! All over southwest Michigan, the roads were treacherous and the schools were closed. A ‘snow day’ for some, and a ‘winter wonderland’ for the rest of us! I couldn’t wait to get bundled up and head out to find a birdie or two who might sit still for a photo shoot –maybe a bright red cardinal on a snowy branch, or a brilliantly colored bluejay on a pine bough. Wishful thinking at best!
What I found on the path instead of birds were trees and bushes that were so heavily laden with snow that their branches were touching the ground– forcing me to basically ‘bushwhack’ my way through the woods. Adding to the challenge of today’s picture walk was the fact that wet, drippy snow was still falling– meaning I had to keep my camera tucked inside my jacket in order for it to stay dry. If a photo opportunity did present itself, I had to take the time to unzip my jacket, pull out my camera, snap a quick picture and then stuff it back in–not the best scenario for taking pictures. To make matters worse, the falling snow was clinging to my glasses. When I finally decided to wipe them off, I made matters worse by creating a thin layer of moisture that froze on the lenses (I had forgotten to bring my ‘proper’ cleaning cloth!) The end result was having to look over the top of the glasses in order to see.
While I was mostly enjoying this experience of our first deep snow of the season, my photo walk itself wasn’t going quite the way I had envisioned it. Most of the birds, and all of the squirrels, were nowhere to be seen, my glasses were a mess, and I was having a harder and harder time plowing through the deep, wet snow. It was time to cut my losses and head home.
Just before leaving the woods, though, my luck momentarily changed and I caught sight of two beautiful deer resting quietly in the snow. My heart skipped a beat and I hoped by the time I clumsily unzipped my jacket (I had bulky gloves on) and extracted my camera, that the deer would still be there. Fortunately, those two deer were are as curious about me as I was about them and they didn’t runaway. With their big, brown eyes staring back at me, they slowly stood up and quietly gave permission to take a few pictures. So I did.
Since none of the birds in the woods had been willing to pose for pictures, I decided that my very best chance for getting any of them at all would be to go back home and try shooting from our deck. At least I knew the birds would be plentiful there (given all of the feeders hanging around), and it would be a good place for me and my camera to stay dry (by standing underneath the overhang)!
Given all of the birds that I ultimately photographed from my deck, perhaps I should have just started there in the first place!!