09 November 2009

The one that got away

This morning I was photographing Yew Tree Tarn in the heart of the Lake District, and the most remarkable thing happened. It was a clear and still morning and I'd just finished taking some landscape photos, making the most of the beautiful reflections of autumn colour in the mirror-like tarn, when I saw a swallow skimming the surface of the water to catch insects. I took my eye off the bird for just a moment to switch to a telephoto lens, then I looked again to see where the little bird had gone. At that moment, a kestrel swooped in and snatched the swallow out of the air!! It was so close that I heard a soft clap as the two birds collided, and the kestrel flew off with its prey at incredible speed. It was simply breathtaking, if a little unfortunate for the poor swallow that came to such a tragic end. Sadly it was over in the blink of an eye, and far too unexpected for me to possibly have caught on camera, but that half-second of exhilaration will stay with me for a lifetime. I love photography for the moments like this one today. It doesn't always matter if the photos are a disappointment, or if (like today) I missed the shot entirely. It's the fact that photography got me out there, to experience those incredible moments.

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