American Robin thrashing through the leaves along the sidewalk, Columbia, Mo.
On Thursday afternoon I walked about Columbia, Mo. with my Lumix G1 and a 45-200mm lens (90-400mm lens in 35mm-speak, as the 4/3 sensor is one half the size of a frame of 35mm film). It was cold. I was wearing one of my “real” winter gloves on my left hand, but a thin glove on my right to use my camera. My ears were at least covered up, but damn did my face get cold. I’m from Wisconsin: we know how to dress for it, but there’s nothing you can do about cold wind except to get out of it as quickly as possible.
As I made my way back to Lee Hills Hall, home to the Missouri School of Journalism’s photojournalism sequence, I found that lots of American Robins were fluttering about the leaves lining the sidewalk. I normally don’t photograph robins: too easy. Well, sort of.
I had to revert back to my ways of photographing birds (but with much smaller equipment in this case), and I got down on the ground and began to crawl forward. I put pressure mostly on my palms, which is now instinctive after working on the beaches in Florida, where Artie Morris always advises that you have to keep your hands clean. If they get coated in sand, it just works its way into all of your gear; more often than not, it’s wet sand that does not want to brush off on your pants leg.
Slowly I crawled forward, getting a more frame-filling view of one of the robins that was thrashing on the ground, looking for worms. He would thrash, look up, and then move onward to a new spot. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I believe what I’ve made is a somewhat comic three-image series. We encounter many birds, like the American Robin, virtually every day in Columbia, Missouri. But do we often pay them a second look?