This is something I have learned the hard way. While I am not going to bring the SLR when I go to the grocery store, I have learned to bring it with me if there even a decent chance of finding something interesting to photograph. There have been many times when I have found something interesting – and every time this happens my camera has done me little good sitting in its bag back home. This can be a bitter pill to swallow when one comes across something spectacular.
A few days ago I accompanied a friend on a journey to Washington State to buy a new vehicle. I debated whether I should bring the camera bag or not. It was quite likely that I would not have time to shoot anything – and also quite likely I would see nothing to shoot. I’ve had this debate before – and opted to not bring my equipment with me. Frequently this has worked out just fine, but other times I have missed great opportunities by leaving my equipment at home. So this time I brought it all with me.
Glad I did!
We stopped for a quick break along SR20 in San de Fuca which is just outside of Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. Walked down to the shore and there was a small flock of Dunlin (Calidris alpina) foraging along the shore. A quick dash back to the car and I began stalking them along the shore. Not very skittish at all, but they did move along the shore away from me when I approached. I had to hide behind old timbers of a dock to get as close as possible. Normally it is much better to sit and wait for a group like this to wander back towards you, but they did not seem alarmed by my presence and I had no time to camp out. Dunlin spend their time here on the coasts of Washington State and British Columbia in the winter – fattening themselves up before a migration to their summer breeding grounds in Alaska and along the shores of Hudson Bay.