Sometimes Documenting Nature is Enough

When we’re out with our cameras around nature, none of us really ever knows what is going to happen. This article shares a series of images captured when almost everything about the shooting conditions were wrong – but pressing the shutter was the right thing to do. Sometimes documenting nature is enough.

We’ve all met other photographers when we’ve been out shooting. And, we’ve all shared our experiences about images we captured or missed, and all of the things that could have made our photographs better. Sometimes we fail to celebrate what we did see, and what we were able to capture with our cameras.

It’s true that many times the light could have been better. Our images could have been sharper. Or, if we were using gear that was more suited to a specific situation, our results could have been technically better. At the end of the day none of that matters.

All that matters is that we were there with our camera, and we captured a treasure that nature provided to us.  Documenting these fleeting moments creates memories that will live as long as our images survive. Whether other people like them or not is a moot point. Whenever we look at our photographs we are transported back in time, able to relive the experiences of what we witnessed, and what we were able to document with our cameras.

What follows is a series of 38 consecutive images of one egret being chased in mid-air by another. The photographs were taken before 7 AM, a time of day when larger sensor cameras excel and my Nikon 1 gear is noticeably pushed to its limits.

As you click, or scroll through the images, you will witness one of nature’s beautifully choreographed mid-air dances.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Frame 1, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 2, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 3, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 4, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 5, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 6, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 7, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 8, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 9, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 10, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 11, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 12, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 13, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 14, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 15, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 16, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 17, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 18, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 19, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 20, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 21, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 22, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 23, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 24, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 25, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 26, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 27, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 28, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 29, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 30, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 31, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 32, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 33, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 34, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 35, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 36, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 37, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.
Frame 38, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200, captured at 60 frames per second.

If your camera has been collecting a bit of dust lately, I encourage you to pick it up and go out into nature for a little while. There may be a memory waiting for you to capture.

Technical Note:
All photographs were captured hand-held in available light using Nikon 1 gear at a frame rate of 60 frames per second as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

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3 thoughts on “Sometimes Documenting Nature is Enough”

  1. Tom,

    This is poetry in motion.

    I agree with you. The important thing is that we were witness to a sight, a phenomenon, that not everyone can see or experience. One of the biggest draws of birding for me is to be able to encounter creatures which often just “adorn” the fringes of our nature experience. Case in point: when I show friends and acquaintances my somewhat blurry pictures of a Philippine pgymy woodpecker, they’re intrigued that we have our own woodpecker! Sometimes, just living right under (or over) our noses 😀

    Thanks for sharing your valuable insights. I follow you, yes, for your incredible imagery, but also for your deep insights on things often taken for granted or not paid attention at all.

    Oggie

    1. Thanks for adding your thoughts to this article Oggie! I had a look at a Philippine pygmy woodpecker image. Cute little bird! It reminds me of a female downy woodpecker that we have here in North America.
      Tom

      1. Hi Tom,

        It’s just intriguing to people, me included, that Woody Woodpecker isn’t just a North American bird 😀 or a cartoon cinematic creation. Which is why I fully dig what you wrote — it’s the presence with our cameras in tow that matters plus the lessons we bring home. Hmmm, reminds me to go out more often into the forests in between typhoons to look for the birds, the frogs, the insects, maybe even an elusive snake or two.

        Oggie

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