Capturing the Elusive…

I know that many photographers out there will identify with me in my photography musing today. The sense of frustration you have when you head out without your camera and notice some amazing action and activity happening around you, or finally get a glimpse of that one thing that you have been hoping to capture for some time and miss the opportunity. For me, this seems to happen consistently when unequipped; while when ready with a variety of lenses to take whatever might peak my interest I frequently find myself uninspired, like a writer sitting staring at a blank page who doesn’t want to begin with the introduction, impatient to get straight to the action. While not an avid bird photographer, I like the opportunity when out hiking to see what I can capture, in that flicker of a moment.  Of course, there is always the beautiful scenery on hand, or the interesting texture of native bush and the trickle of streams running adjacent to tracks. But there is something about the hunt, following the movement of these cagey creatures as they travel amongst the treetops, evading being shot with their swooping and speed. I love our native Kereru, otherwise known as Wood Pigeon.  They are beautiful large framed creatures, famous for their white luxurious feather singlet against a spectral of green. We have many that live in the national park nearby, and I have yet to get “the one.”  But there have been opportunities!  Like the time there were three birds roosting within a metre or two of the track, their heavy food laden bodies bowing the slight branch beneath them, unperturbed by the existence of me walking nearby taking photos of curled up ferns. They almost seemed to be smiling at me, somewhat clairvoyant of the fact that a picture for a canvas wasn’t going to happen. As I lined up and clicked a frame of what I thought was going to be my glory shot  my camera battery died, the trio mockingly lifted from their resting place, large wings flapping noisily around me, cutting the air like a boomerang except they weren’t coming back …yes, lesson learnt. And then recently, on the same walk with no camera in hand, a solitary bird sat right beside me at shoulder height in a small native tree, not fearful or worried that a steady stream of walkers had already passed by, taunting me with its indifference to run home when I already knew it would have moved on by the time I got back. I’m just not that lucky!  So, when we found ourselves in lock-down due to national Covid-19 restrictions, the back garden became my backdrop. During the seven weeks of enforced isolation I played; just a bit of fun, no expectations.  I captured bees, flowers, food, and water drops; little micro projects to satisfy the day.  I had noticed Tui’s back in the garden, Rosellas, and even a visit from a Ruru (Morepork) at night – along with the usual Piwakwaka (Fantails), Mynas and Seagulls. But it was early one morning, when stretching and yawning, checking out the weather of the day through my bedroom window, that I saw a single kereru perched in a Kowhai, having feasted on nearby figs.  I hastily grabbed my camera, all ready with memory card and battery, and moved stealthily outdoors as the bird moved to a Kapuka, then cautiously waited for it to pop its majestic head up and pose.  While not a glamour shot, I was fulfilled, I finally got “the one”…not the perfect one, but that sought-after, elusive shot.