On one fabulous day last fall, I took 1,800 photos of sandhill cranes. Time has not dulled the fondness of that memory.
When I take that many photos, I create a huge job of sorting and processing that turns out to be a lot less fun than being there. Initially it was easy to delete hundreds of out of focus shots – one of the hazards of shooting birds in flight. I could defend myself with the number of times the camera chose to go rogue on my carefully placed focal point … but I digress.
I still had far too many photos remaining. I scanned through a number of times looking for the pearls. I kept thinking that this should be quick and obvious but it wasn’t then and that is not unusual. Then a few contenders appeared. Their stock rose and fell as I found and become enamoured with others before I cycled back through again.
What I was hoping for was the one special shot that’s head and shoulders above the rest. It was nice there were a number of good shots but I wanted one shot to rise to the next level. I’d learned to pay attention to the time I spent on certain photos and how often I went back to them. After a number of rounds, I noticed one flight shot had begun to emerge. A contender in the second round had continued to rise.
Months later I can confirm the photo above is my favourite from that day. There were photos that were sharper, many had more pronounced fall colours and some were more dramatic. But none could match the impossible symmetry of those sandhill cranes flying against a muted background as they symbolically head toward the smattering of yellow leaves with their faces glowing in the sun.
Yes, this one I like.