Another Magical Morning at the Eagle River Nature Center

When I am exploring, it is my priority to walk lightly on the earth, both literally and metaphorically speaking. I do my best not to leave a mark or impose on the subjects I photograph. Today, however, was a lesson in patience…

I was up with the sun again, this time to photograph the trumpeter swans that recently arrived at the Nature Center. After hiking out to the location where I encountered them yesterday morning, I found the pair immediately and set up my camera with telephoto lens (200-400mm). Initially, they were tolerant of my presence and I began making images while they preened themselves in the shallow water. Suddenly, they became uncomfortable and began to swim away. Rather than sit back and allow them grow accustomed to me, I took off in zealous pursuit, causing them to take flight.

This wasn’t sitting well with me, knowing I had disrupted their routine. After some careful thought, I began walking home and decided I should take a look near the viewing decks to see if I might spot them again. Fortunately, they hadn’t flow very far and were feeding in the water between the decks. This time, determined not to impose, I gradually made my way down to the creek, moving only when their heads were submerged and placing greater emphasis on not disturbing them as they searched for food. I stood still for several minutes, allowing them to accept my presence before carefully inching forward. Eventually I made it to the water’s edge and began taking photos as they browsed on aquatic vegetation and then swam past, just feet away from me.

Once again I am reminded that patience, more than persistence, is vital to successfully interacting with wildlife and creating beautiful images.

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