At the end of the day, a Loon pair rests side-by-side, peacefully watching over their lake as the twilight fades into night.
Behind the lens
Intermittent reward is more addictive than a reliable reward. I had just spent the afternoon feeding mosquitoes, instead of getting the Marsh Wren photographs that I had hoped for.
Half an hour after sunset, I started working my way out of the marsh, heading toward the lakeshore and the forested trail that leads home. As I wobbled clumsily across the spongy bog, the resident Loons out in the lake noticed me and swam over to see what this mosquito-clouded creature was all about.
I sat down on the rocks at the water’s edge. The Loon pair swam slowly towards me until we could look each other up and down. Eventually, they lost interest in me and my quiet questions. They circled each other twice, rested their heads on their backs, and slept.
I mostly just watched, but also created a few photos in the blue twilight, at shutter speeds that I knew were way too slow for a 500mm lens.
Our quiet meeting didn’t seem to move the Loons much, but I sure enjoyed it. Still, I didn’t have high expectations for photographs taken in the dark without a tripod. But you know what? This time it worked. This time, the blood and mud and struggle turned into something that is timeless. And that is exactly the rare thing that keeps me going.
loonCommon LoonbirdduckwaterfowlMontanaJohn Ashley