I‘m no wildlife photographer… though I will confess that I happily fashioned myself one when I trekked to the Inside Passage in Alaska and shot feeding bald eagles and lumbering black bears. And in South Africa, I captured hungry cheetahs devouring a freshly killed baby nyala. Don’t let those particular shots in my portfolio fool you (despite the prominence of their display)– most of my typical wildlife shooting includes squirrels and pigeons.
Nevertheless, every opportunity I get to pop a longer lens on a camera body and point it at something that flies, swims or crawls on all fours, I leap. Such was the case during a recent trip to Amelia Island in Florida. Though this time, it was the lowly sandpiper that captured my attention.
I’ve walked along countless beaches in my life, frequently with a camera in tow, and hardly noticed the sandpiper. These small birds dart about in my path, chasing meals that lie just below the surface of the sand and surf. They are timid, prone to keeping out of my way just as I steer clear of theirs.
But on this on particular day, I noticed them. Carrying an Olympus OM-D E-M1ii and Olympus 75-300ii, I spent an hour doing nothing but photographing these birds. I observed the patterns of their movement, their feeding behaviors. And as a side note, the autofocus tracking of the Olympus was most impressive. The sandpipers put that capability to the test. [Stay tuned to these pages for a quick look at the Olympus compared to the venerable Fujifilm X-T2.]
It took nearly the full hour for me to appreciate the understated beauty of these small birds. They possess no bold colors, they are common in appearance and they are easy to pass by on a typical beach stroll. But I was grateful on this particular day for the company. And their beauty.