Yellow-rumped Warblers began arriving a few weeks ago. Now they are a constant presence in the wax myrtle as they gorge on the small, unappealing berries that other warblers cannot digest.
Every year I fall in love with the warblers, all over again, and spend hours trying to photograph them.
Cloudy days test my patience with low light and grainy images.
Sunny days emphasize the warblers’ camouflage, turning photos into abstract riddles of highlight and shadow.
Exposures set for the interior of the wax myrtle flare distractingly bright whenever a bird strays into a patch of sunlight.
Exposures set for sunlight fail when a bird retreats into shadow.
Every so often, sunlight, shadow, and bird merge into a split-second of breathtaking beauty. At those moments I freeze, too captivated to remember my camera. Then the moment passes, and I’m left snapping a photo of perfection’s echo.
These photos are the most frustrating of all, teasing reminders of what might have been. They are also my favorites. They are cause and effect. A reason to keep taking photos. Photos worth keeping.
I’m finding that photography, like poetry, is a hunger that returns season after season.