Curiosity overcomes fear.

For picture-taking, visits by wild animals are certainly one of nature’s most memorable gifts.  Some say seabirds such as this one have genes dating back to when dinosaurs were flying, and I believe them.

This lovely lady surprised me by her presence late one morning after I’d fallen into a light nap, and woke up at sea slightly disoriented.  The chatter on deck was surprising. We were heading through areas rich in sea life; fish were so plentiful that they mistakenly flew aboard at night, caught between the prowling dorado and a gently sailing hull.  But no one was around, we were miles and miles from shore. What is the racket?

A flock of birds had landed; near the doldrums, not much wind. They were probably chatting about the fishing. Then I spotted her.  She must be female, I imagined, all fixed up and ready to go out, made up with such delicate blue color around her eyes and a rosy face.  Her friends, who’d landed along the windward rail, served as protection. ‘Ah, I will test their courage and see how close I can get,’ I thought, planning my moves as I warmed up the camera, did the settings, covered it so that seawater would not get it wet, and set off on my picture shoot.

The first of her friends flew off immediately, so I calculated what distance they would tolerate. Then I set up with camera, braced against unwanted motion, rechecked my settings, and so went to work.

Looking deep in a wild creature’s eyes has a lasting effect. It is a window into their soul, and the communication is mutual.  We exchanged.  I captured her image, but she captured some of my spirit. It feels kindred. As time went on, my thoughts traveled with her often. I could dream flight, go fishing, sail above the waves, wing effortlessly into the wind, see life from on high.  Rare treasures, these.

Wildlife in any form is worthy of photographic attention. It’s an unusual opportunity to learn to live with other creatures.  When I find this type of image, and photograph correctly, the result takes on a life of it’s own, and if worthy, becomes timeless.

Many feel the best pictures are those which are looked at again and again. Just as many prefer pictures of daily life, with the best catching fleeting moments at home or at play with our loved ones, or even at work.  The most important thing is to try for the best, and share them.

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