I had been to this location before. A small lake right off the road, near one of my favorite Bald Eagle areas (like there’s really a single spot for that!) I had never really spent much time at this lake. I would stop by now and then and if something wasn’t happening right on queue, I would move on to the more productive location. In other words, with that mindset nothing would ever happened.
But today I was trying out my new tripod and it just seemed a good fit to wonder off around this lake to a secluded part of the bank and shoot some pictures.
I probably spent 2 hours photographing two loons. I could show you ALL of the shots and you would probably say “Yep. That’s a loon. Nice.” Loon swimming, loon ducking its’ head under water, loon doing this and loon doing that. Even a loon- rump or two as they dove down underwater.
But what I was NOT able to get on my camera SD card was the wonder of seeing these birds disappear underwater and then staying under for minutes at a time. Long minutes. I tried to focus my camera on where I thought they would come up, thinking how cool it would be to catch a loon breaking the surface of the water as it popped back up. But they would always surface way off somewhere else. By the time I could get my camera on them and –SNAP – all I had was another shot of a loon swimming on the lake surface.
|Canon 60D + 70-300 @ 270 w/monopod (as shot)|
I soon gave up on trying to capture that event and just decided to enjoy watching them dive, surface and dive, over and over again. There were several times I was sure they surfaced in some hidden place and then went back down and up where I could see them – because they were under for such a long time. Every time they would pop back up, I would laugh this silly childish giggle. It was just so cool. And it seemed like they knew I was watching them and they were having fun surprising me.
That’s when it hit me: the photographs we share are events captured in time. But what is not captured is everything before and after the photograph. Some of these events are not memorable at all, and we tend to discard them rather easily. But this “submerge and surface” event was a very memorable for me. When you see my loon pictures you might say “Nice loon.” But when I see them (or perhaps any loon shot) I think of a magical time on a small, often overlooked lake, enjoying these loons giving me a show.
Some day I’ll have the combination of patience and luck to get that shot of a submarine-loon breaking still lake waters as it surfaces. Not this day, however. But what I did walk away with was incredibly cool memory! Sorry, that’s mine. You can’t have it.