Landscape photographers tell you the early morning light is simply outstanding when you want to create an effect with a scene but I’m becoming convinced that’s a ruse. They simply enjoy being at a location before everyone gets there. You can find the best spot for a composition and watch the scene gradually emerge into the daylight, all without other people in your way or disturbing the quiet thoughtfulness good contemplation time requires.
Another aspect I’m coming to enjoy (and I don’t enjoy much about getting up that early!) is the way wildlife may just accept your presence. I mean, you have to be quiet and not be obvious but most of the time even when it’s apparent they see me, most will simply resume their business, keeping a watchful eye on me periodically.
And where that watchful eye is telescopic in nature I certainly appreciate being able to remain in their presence for as long as they will have me. This osprey obvious saw me standing on the beach near his tree, but was willing to hang around while I changed lenses and adjusted my tripod to make some portraits of him scanning the lake for breakfast. We don’t see many of these raptors in Nebraska because, except for some parts of the state, we lack the large bodies of water they need for a food supply. And the few we do see obey the basic rule of shyness all the hawks and eagles follow – see human, fly away. I was thrilled when this one flew up and perched near my location at Lake Tahoe. He spent some time there, too, either waiting to see what might surface or contemplating just how important breakfast might be that has to be snatched from such cold water!
In the end, his mind made up, he took the plunge – literally. I’ve never seen an osprey leave a perch so I wasn’t expecting the dive-bomber angle he took. It looked like he just stepped off his perch and plummeted down a bit before his wings caught enough air to generate lift. What he had his eyes on I never saw – he flew away down the lake shore at a good clip, eventually behind trees where I lost track of him. It was great to share a few minutes with him, though.
And with no one else that morning – not another soul joined me on that stretch of lake. From where I was much of the development was not visible or so far off as to be insignificant. It was easy to feel as if the osprey and I had just discovered the place, and were taking time to just realize what a wonderful gem exists nestled in the Sierras.