I will consider myself an accomplished nature photographer when-
a rare or unexpected nature event occurs during one of my nature photography outings and I can remain calm!
I had been doing quite well taking hummingbird and chipmunk photos. I was doing a fine job achieving a personal goal… shooting RAW in Manual mode… up until this Pileated Woodpecker arrived.
All my successes with shutter speed, aperture, ISO selections seemed to simply vanish when the largest woodpecker known in Oregon flew onto our property!
As the large bird swooped over our home, I could feel my self-talk ramp up into high speed-
“What bird is that?! A wood duck- no, wrong bill. A crow? no, wrong color pattern. Can this be… A PILEATED WOODPECKER?!?!”
It made way for a limb on a cherry tree no more than 15 feet from where I was standing.
There was no question. This was a Pileated Woodpecker!
Quick, start capturing images…
Do a little chimp…
Then a grim realization. The first shots were extremely underexposed.
The only way I could use the images here was to post process in black and white.
A deep breath helped to bring me to solving exposure problems-
The spectacular bird granted me a moment to regroup while it flew from the nearby Cherry Tree up into a 70 foot+ tall Oregon Ash that grows further away at the back of our property.
I wish I could say these photos represent my best level of photography.
But, I know they don’t.
I understand what getting over-excited can do to my concentration and camera setting facility. However, upon further reflection, I wouldn’t trade that spontaneous excitement, exuberance, and fascination for anything. What temporarily messes up my ability to operate a camera, works at the same time, to focus and fill my soul with appreciation and wonder for the marvelous achievements of Mother Nature. I’ll take that focal-point of view, any time…