Changing Plans

Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) Eating seastar (Pisaster) Puget Sound, Washington

In photography, as in Life itself, whatever you might have planned on a particular day can quickly be superseded by events. Sometimes that can work in your favor – sometimes not. For me, today brought an unexpected gift. I set out this morning to photograph the flocks of Brant Geese on the beach below my house, but the light was gray and lifeless, with light rain (see: April in Seattle) and the birds uncooperative.

I was ready to quit and head back to the office, when I saw some odd motion along the shore. Looking closer, I found a gull that was struggling to swallow a starfish it had plucked off the rocks at low tide. Repeatedly, for almost half an hour, he would get it halfway down – then cough it back up to try for a better angle. This made it easy for me to sit down and look for a shot that captured the event.  I took a series of them, of which this was my favorite: shortly afterwards, he finally got it down, though the writhing bulge in his neck didn’t look terribly comfortable.. Clearly his day wasn’t shaping up the way he had planned.

The lesson?  For me, it was simple : You won’t get many pictures if you stay home.  The light was imperfect, the weather lousy – but in the end,  any time spent in nature is an opportunity.

Nikon D800, 500m f4 Nikkor lens