Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Learning the finer art of Patience

There are times when I like getting as one in nature and capturing wildlife or landscapes pictures. Don't get me wrong, I'm still passionate about being a photojournalist and a sports shooter, however, getting lost in nature is refreshing at times. Waiting for the sunlight to be in the right position, or an animal or bird to come within your frame sometimes is a test of patience.

While in the Navy and stationed in Pensacola, I became friends with another photographer, who happened to be a avid deer hunter. While I liked to shoot deer with a camera, he, on the other hand was a compound bow hunter, was looking for a hunting companion and started giving me lessons. 

It was pretty neat going out in the afternoons and flinging arrows at deer targets and after a few short weeks I was ready for my "first" kill.

I didn't care about getting up at dark thirty, driving out into the woods and waiting in the cold for hours in hope of bagging a deer, but after a few hunts I was become comfortable while our in the woods. At times we often saw deer, however, they never came within bow range.

When I returned home my wife, Amy , would inquire, "Is Bambi safe, how about it's mom and dad?" So, I told even through we didn't bag us a deer, it was a lot fun, getting out early, watching the early morning ground mist burn off with the rising sun, listening to the birds and getting as one with nature.

Rick talked me into trying another technique, tree stands. Not only were you able to get a higher vantage, but at higher level your human sent would be harder to detect and if  you applied some nasty smelling liquid called "Deer in Heat", hopefully would bring deer withing shooting range. He selected an area with plenty of deer runs, we both chose trees at opposite runs, climbed up a tree and set up the stand, sat and waited.

It wasn't long before I got lost in my thoughts while scanning the area for deer, watching the sunlight reflecting off the wet leaves really brought out the beauty and contrasting fall colors of the various trees. I wished I was holding a camera instead of a bow.

Suddenly, a shout broke the tranquility of a peaceful morning, "For Christ sake will you shoot that deer!" I looked down and noticed three or four deer, not 20 yards from me munching berries off a bush, but after hearing Rick's outbreak, their little white tails rose and off they disappeared down the trail from where they came.

Once again I could safely tell Amy, "Bambi's parents were safe." It was a quite ride home, until Rick finally broke the silence. "What were you thinking, why didn't you shoot the deer?" I went into detail about getting lost in my thoughts while enjoying nature's beauty.

That morning was my last bow hunt.  I'm still the "great white hunter" and instead of a bow, I hunt with a camera. I did, however, come away with many lessons learned by spending hours in once location, but more importantly, I learned that sometimes it takes patience and time to capture that special photograph.

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