In wildlife photography there are two traits that are very beneficial to ones success. A wildlife photographer often benefits from having patience. It is often necessary to sit and wait for long periods of time for your subject to happen upon your location or you may have to wait for a bird you inadvertently startled to get used to your presence and come back. It i also important to persevere. One may have to endure some rough weather and uncomfortable conditions to get the desired shot but if you want the shot that is what needs to be done.
Recently I was lucky enough to benefit from both of those traits in my own photography. I Will admit that I am not the most patient man by a long shot. Perseverance is a little bit more up my alley, but I am also working on that as well.
This past weekend I headed down to the river looking to photograph some birds of prey. I was fortunate enough to spot an osprey flying my way. It took refuge in one of the nearby trees. I knew it approximate location but there were several trees clustered together and I was not sure exactly which tree the osprey was in. I looked at them from every angle and location and still no sign of it. I was about to give up thinking that maybe it did not land there and it flew off without me seeing it. Then I heard a screech and it took flight again. This time only moving down the row of trees and perching again in another tree. This time I was not as sure as to where it was, but I knew it was in one of these trees. I moved along slowly and quietly trying not to disturb the bird as much as possible. From a distance I finally saw it and just as I raised my camera to take a shot it was off again. This time it flew off down the river.
I decided to hang out at the river and see if it would come back or if anything else would happen by. With my luck it started to rain. Lucky for me I was near all those trees. I took shelter below the trees and continued to look for photographic opportunities. Eventually I saw the osprey come back up river. I tracked it with my camera as it flew over the river, waiting for the shot. Some branches blocked my shot just as I depressed the shutter and my camera refocused on the branches I recovered and found the osprey just in time to see it plunge into the water. But I had missed the shot. The osprey missed its shot as well. It took off with no fish for lunch. It continued farther up river, but I could see it off in the distance the entire time. I stayed in the shelter of the trees moving around a little trying to stay out of the rain as much as possible. Checking on the osprey from time to time just hoping for one more shot.
Then the osprey began flying back in my direction. It was flying directly over the trees this time instead of over the water. I think it was planning to land in the trees again. However, it did not anticipate my presence. As it swooped down into a clearing between the trees to take up a perch in the next tree it saw me. It immediately veered off course and flew away. This time I got the shots as the osprey flew directly over my head. But it took a lot of hard work and dedication. I got a little wet and was a little bored at times, but my patience and perseverance paid off. Hopefully this situation will reinforce those traits in me.