This photograph was one of the first which I took with my camera. I was still trying to figure out how to use it, in my typical back to front approach to learning things, I decided to take some photos and then see what I needed to learn.
One snowed-in Winter’s day I was sitting on my window sill watching the birds darting to and fro from the bird feeder. A shadow swooped. I knew it was the kestrel as she lives locally and my garden is part of her hunting grounds.
There have been many times when she has surprised me, as well as her prey.
I’ve seen her catch a vole, a robin, and try to grab a blackbird.
I saw a Sparrowhawk catch a blackbird once only a few feet away from me, that experience left me shaking like a leaf in the wind… with excitement and other emotions and thoughts. So did the moment in this photograph.
Usually the kestrel lands too high up for me to capture her. My zoom lens is not powerful enough for the places she prefers to perch. She is quite shy of humans and is easily spooked. I’ve tried sneaking up on her… but she knows and goes.
This day she landed on a low branch not far from the feeder. She had been chasing a blackbird, but it had eluded her, escaping into the cover of bushes by the feeder, and so she had decided to take a break and rest and watch and wait…
I was completely unprepared for the photo opportunity. My mind turned to mush. My hands were shaking so much even the shake-reduction setting could not handle that kind of muscular quake. I couldn’t remember which buttons to press or anything really… I’m astounded I took any photos at all!
This is the only shot I have left of the series which I took. I accidentally deleted them when tidying my photo archives… which is why you should back up your back up and never tidy anything even when you think you should so you can find stuff more easily.
I’m the sort of person who tends to contain their excitement. I enjoy it internally and very privately.
Excitement can be a shared experience, but sometimes it is personal for you and you alone… sometimes you just have to be there and live it… some things are transient, a moment lived never to be lived again, and that is why they are so exciting.
This moment taught me an invaluable lesson about photography, not a practical one, but an impractical and most useful one, for me, that photography is about capturing something intangible and making it tangible… even though it still remains intangible.