Not a Nature Photographer · 5 April 2014

Even though I like photography and nature, I could never be a nature photographer.

I enjoy watching nature shows and seeing nature pictures. I remember being a kid and watching Marlin Perkins wrestling with an anaconda on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. I remember seeing shows where the big cats take down large prey and crocodiles ambush unsuspecting animals drinking. I remember seeing fish fight their way upstream and birds taking flight. I still enjoy seeing these things as well as still photos from National Geographic and other sources of animals and lands both near and far.

I always wondered if I could film or take videos or even stills like those I remember. If I had the eye to capture the scene with all its wonder and ferocity and beauty. I always wondered. And yet I realize that I do not have the constitution for it. I do not have what it takes to be a nature photographer. I do not want to be stuck out in the jungle heat or arctic cold waiting for the special moment when an animal does something amazing or the sun rises spectacularly over the horizon. I do not have the patience or wherewithal to take thousands of pictures to get that one fantastic shot.

My wife, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, might argue with that last statement. After all, I do take hundreds of pictures each year. Some of them make it into albums or get printed individually. But most of them just sit on the computer. A few make it to Facebook on my wife’s page. But usually, the only animals in them are of the human kind and are part of our family.

Even though most of the pictures I take are of family and friends (which might arguably be considered nature photos), I do like to take nature photos. As long as I do not need to sit in the swamp or otherwise be too uncomfortable to get that spectacular photo.

I like that I can see the bird in the sky or the dear in the meadow. That I can see the plants and scenery in their full splendor. That I can and do take pictures of nature all around me. And I like that sometimes, I get lucky and see something spectacular happen right in my front yard. Sometimes, nature comes to me.

The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi recently saw a hummingbird gathering cobwebs on the front porch for a nest. She did not realize that the hummingbird was making that nest on our wind chimes. When I saw firsthand what the hummingbird was doing, I decided that I needed to write a piece about being a nature photographer. And that I needed a picture to go with the piece. So I got out the tripod and the camera, set up the gear, and waited.

While I was waiting, I took a few shots to set things up. I tried to be a real nature photographer. I changed the shutter speed and tried using a flash even though it was through the window. We do not have a super fancy camera, so my options were somewhat limited, but I got a couple good shots of the nest and the hummingbird. And I even took a short video. Not quite like Marlin Perkins, but it was fun to shoot a hummingbird video.

Fortunately, I did not need to leave my own home to get these nature shots. I was in the living room where it was warm and comfortable. Still, while I was waiting, I imagined being on safari hiding out in the tall grasses with my camera trained on some large animal far away. Thankfully, imagining does not include the heat or the sweat or the buzzing insects. It does not include frostbite or blizzards in the arctic. But it always includes great shots. If not by the camera, at least by the mind. And in reality, I got a couple good shots.

I enjoyed being a nature photographer in the comfort of my own home. I did not need to worry about being eaten by ravenous beasts or getting munched by stinging insects or freezing my tush off in the cold. All I had to do was be patient enough to wait for the hummingbird to come back to the nest it was building so that I could take pictures without all the hardship. After all, I know that as much as I like nature and photography, I do not want to be a true nature photographer.

© 2014 Michael T. Miyoshi

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