When I was a youngster, just old enough to understand what they were singing about in church, one of my favorite hymns was Build Me a Cabin in Glory. The lyrics evoked comforting imagery of a cabin nestled against the pines at the edge of a grassy clearing.
If this little cabin isn’t the one I imagined, it’s sure close.
The workshop, lead by Henry H. Holdsworth of Wild by Nature Gallery, helped me navigate the old Nikon D80 I was borrowing from my dad and taught me useful tips for capturing quality images.
More than that though, it forced me to take a closer look at the world around me. I had to exercise awareness, consider creative perspectives, wait patiently for the light, and observe my everyday surroundings with renewed appreciation.
Living in Jackson Hole, I’d driven by herds of elk hundreds of times without giving them a second glance. Suddenly, with a camera in hand, an elk herd became a sought-out treasure.
The anticipation began before sunrise as our group loaded into the van. Where might the animals be and how would they move? Could we position ourselves at the right place at the right time for that perfect morning shot?
We drove to a pullout and heard bugling in the distance. The largest telephoto lenses could only make out a few antlers poking above the far sagebrush.
We watched for several moments as light crept into the sky. The herd moved north.
We piled back in the van and plotted an intercept course. “Keep your tripods attached and adjust your settings now,” Henry admonished as we sped down the road. “We’ll only have a few seconds to set up when we stop.”
The hunt was on! Our eyes were peeled for the herd.
Heads appeared over a fold of land. The van skidded to the shoulder. Doors flew open. We leapt out as the elk crested the ridge. Seconds later shutters were snapping away.
The elk continued their quick trot northward. Soon they were out of sight behind a cluster of trees and we were jumping back into the vehicle, racing to the next vantage point.
I didn’t capture any award-winning photographs, but the thrill of the chase reminded me that life is as boring or exhilarating as we make it. It’s just a matter of perspective.