It started out easy enough.
I was hired (in a volunteer sort of way) by the Sandhill Crane Association Of Central Saskatchewan In Autumn (SCAOCSIA) to update their photos.
The SCAOCSIA wanted me to take some snappy new photos before the members all took off for parts unknown. I met with the leading sandhill cranes who made up the executive committee. In the parlance of politicians we had a productive discussion. If you’ve ever been around these characters, you know it’s never a quiet affair!
I carefully explained that in previous years I thot we had too many shots of sandhill cranes standing in stubble. This year I wanted something a little more creative to show off their charm and beauty. Everyone agreed with my plan. I was a little surprised since sandhills seem quite attached to their stubble.
The next day I went out to the field to meet at the prearranged spot. It was noisy as usual. As soon as I took out my camera the wheels started to fall off our plan. You would have thot this was just my plan.
“What is a committee? A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary.” Richard Harkness
The long-legged SCAOCSIA vice-president wanted to show off a new goose step that would be perfect for a public relations photo. Good grief! The secretary seemed to remember some opposition to the plan that I suspected was really just his belated squawking opinion. The president wondered whether we should perhaps take a step back and rethink the whole process. After more disagreeing and dithering, they reluctantly agreed to proceed with the photo shoot before it got dark. This was eerily like working with humans!
In the end, most of the committee members stayed in the stubble and got distracted by snacks. Some of the members flew off pretending to be camera shy while the rest seemed determined to drive me crazy. They kept flying in and out at random times without giving me warning – despite promises to the contrary. Some of them even started new arguments among themselves.
I had nearly given up on my idea of getting a shot of sandhills flying in front of fall-coloured leaves, when I finally convinced one sandhill crane to give me a flyby. He came in fast and low toward the trees. I was excited that this was finally going to happen. But at the last possible second he smiled, turned and went behind the trees. Argh!
At first I was frustrated. Then I looked at the photos later and decided this had worked out better than I could have imagined. Just to get even, I’m putting him on the front page of the website!
Next year I’m going to be more wary when the SCAOCSIA comes calling for more photos! Ah, that is if they come calling …