I live in a wildlife blind. From my rocking chair I look through three tall windows into a back yard that is teeming with life. A hawk snatched a sparrow four feet from my eyes. Birds feed their young. Raccoons scavenge with babies. There are sheep, deer, chickens, newts, lizards, snakes, frogs, ravens, dragonflies… These windows are like a big screen TV tuned to the nature channel. There is always movement; it is ever changing.
All but one of these photographs was shot within 50 feet of my back door. Nine were taken through the windows in front of my chair. I didn’t go out to find the pictures, they came to me. My job was to watch. With the camera handy and clean windows, I waited. Animals came and posed. Backgrounds changed with the seasons and light. The variety of landscapes and textures and creatures, all within a stone’s throw of my back door, is magical.
Living closely with nature gives me insights into what animals are likely thinking and saying. Focusing on a subject with my camera triggers a flash of understanding, like an epiphany. For those few seconds of concentration I am able to read its thoughts and speech. When the shutter snaps, the spell is broken.
Of course, something may be lost in the translation.
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Jay Rainey is an artist living on an island in British Columbia, Canada.