"The business of art is rather to understand Nature and to reveal her meanings to those unable to understand. It is to convey the soul of a tree… The mission of art is to bring out the unfamiliar from the most familiar." –Khalil Gilbran
Downy woodpecker taken from an extreme distance. There are times when I take a photograph, but I’m not exactly certain what species of bird I’ve gotten until I get back to my computer to process images. This happened to be one of those images.
One of the fun aspects of photography is the surprise encounters. When I go out with my camera, I expect surprises because one cannot anticipate what nature and wildlife will appear on any given trip. Even if I’ve been there time and again, something new and different is always likely to occur. it might be a bird, it might be a flower, it might be an insect, it might even be a structure, anything can happen. As it happens this was my first trip to the wildlife refuge near Fir Road, in Skagit County. I hope to get back up there sometime in the near future. But for now, staying close to home. I’m glad I did get the chance to get there last year.
It’s about remaining open to the possible as well as the impossible, the expected, and the unexpected, be it familiar territory or unfamiliar territory. It’s never boring.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, another of my favorite subjects in the fall and winter are mushrooms. There are all shapes and sizes to be found almost anywhere you look.
There can be a magical and mystical element ever present when hiking or on a picture-taking odessy into the woods. I can be walking along, searching, and not see a one. Then, suddenly, I see one, just one. And then all of a sudden I can see them everywhere. It’s like this magical veil is removed from my eyes on whim from the fairie world, beyond our usual scope of what we see.
This can often happen for me in nature, because it feels like a whole other world beyond our fast-paced, technologically-savvy existence. It’s using different senses, different instincts. And it trully is magical.
The Northern Shoveler is somewhat of a dabbler duck. Favors broad, shallow marshes. Often found using its large bill to strain insects and seeds from the water.
Caught here at rest and contemplation, but often seen with bill to water ferreting out their prizes as they move with purpose. Interesting to observe as they have developed a rhythm of circling, bill immersed in water as they hunt. Like watching a syncopated dance on water, especially with a pair such as this.
Swallow. Not the action, but the bird. Known for aerial feed, as in grabbing food on the go, “swallowing” – the act – without landing. Can be quite a feat sometimes to photograph as the soar and dip and catching them on the go can be a challenge.
Steller’s jay, another bird with a pretty distinctive call. They usually move pretty quickly through the trees, like the scrub jay. I did manage to capture this phone near McIntosh Lake. Subspecies of the jay, as is the scrub jay, and closely related to the blue jay. Bold and aggressive, with a strong call.
Sparrows. So many sub-species. Natal philopatry – that strong, driving force to return each year to the area where they were hatched, representing a differentiation between the Savannah Sparrow and other sub-species of sparrows. Kind of like salmon who return each year to spawn, I imagine.