I took this shot a couple of years ago on a vacation to Florida, and it is one of my all-time favorite shots. My wife and I were walking around downtown Apalachicola when we wandered onto Water Street. Water Street runs along what is essentially the Apalachicola River and is the home of many of the area’s oystermen and shrimpers.
As we walked along, my attention was drawn to a small island of land that contrasted rather nicely with the sky behind it, and I decided to photograph it. Unfortunately, I had left my camera in my vehicle, which by that time was several blocks away. Afterall, in an area that has a great deal of photographic potential, what sense does it make to be burdened with lugging all that equipment around? I rushed back to get my backpack, and returned to the location where the land and sky had first caught my attention and began shooting.
It was several minutes before I noticed the pilings, and more specifically, the birds sitting atop each one. I was intrigued by how, atop each piling, sat one and only one bird. I quickly switched to my 400mm lens and began shooting. Most of the birds turned away from me and had no interest in “showing off” their good side. Maybe they were just camera shy.
However, there was one that had a little bit of an attitude. As I began taking pictures, this one bird slowly turned his head to look at me with an expression that told me exactly what he was thinking: “Hey you! What you lookin’ at?” Then, just as slowly as he turned to face me, he turned away. He had made his point.
I didn’t realize exactly what I had captured until I got back to our cabin later that afternoon and started reviewing my day’s photographs. When I got to this one, I let out a laugh. For anybody who thinks animals don’t have a personality, here’s proof that they do have personalities, they do have attitudes, and, sometimes, they don’t mind letting you know it, either.
Settings: Canon 5D Mk II, 400mm, 1/3200 sec, f/5.6