As you may know, I live in NYC and we have a bit of snow on the ground. Early this afternoon, I donned my long johns and snow boots and headed into the wilds of Inwood Hill Park armed with my trusty Kodak. The sun was just right and it wasn’t too cold.
There’s this spot at the base of the ‘mountain’ where cardinals always seem to hang out. I parked myself on a log and watched as they flew around me, sometimes perching over my head. After about a half hour, an older man arrived on the scene. He had a major camera! “Cardinals around?”, he asked. I looked about and said “Uh, yeah.”
He walked a little ways up the path and started to throw some seed down in a particularly picturesque spot. The birds left me and made their way to the the photographer’s “studio”. He took some pictures and headed further up the trail where he, you guessed it, throw more seed. The birds followed suit.
The photographer, he had come to get his shots. He had no appreciation for the beauty of what he was witnessing. He had to manipulate every moment. Then with a wave and “have a nice day” he was gone.
It wasn’t long before the birds and squirrels resumed their previous hi jinx. I felt honored to be forgotten by them as they chased each other from branch to branch or sat perched on a limb singing a merry tune. I was happy to have those quiet moments. Those quiet moments that quickly became hours. The fact that I was able to capture a few intimate shots, was a bonus.
It’s not that I thought the photographer’s staging was wrong. I realize he had a job to do and he did it quickly and efficiently. Mostly, I feel sorry for him. This afternoon was magical for me. For him, it seems it was just another day at the office.
And I hate the word “just”.