Returning for another try at a sharp, in-focus photo of a barn owl leaving its burrow on a cliff face near Bridgeport, I’ve had to redo my thoughts about capturing fast moving events, even with a modern camera capable of 5-frames per second motor drive and fast auto focus. My first attempt last month resulted a single image, captured as I looked through the lens and startled to see the owl already out of the burrow. Focus and shutter speed for that image failed. For this shot I thought I’d know just what to do, camera with motor drive set at its fastest; “continuious” auto focus, and fire a series of photos and hope that one would be the best. Not so fast there: The only frame sharply captured is this one. Well, the next image of the owl looking on at the photographer with distain: “YOU AGAIN?”
One of the world’s greatest photographers, Henri Cartier-Bresson spent his entire life-time developing his hand and eye coordination, and his camera technique to capture what he called “The Decisive Moment” –
The precise moment when subject and photographer/camera cooperated to produce the ultimate image. Looking through his rangefinder Leica, right eye to the finder window and the other eye peering around the camera to watch everything in the fluid situation, Cartier-Bresson captured “moments of great beauty or tragedy, moments of historical significance” according to one of his biographers. If another chance to capture the barn owl’s departure from its burrow, I’ll try to be more like HCB.
And last, and least, I did see a family group of grizzly bears walking down the street of one of the Panhandle’s smaller communities as if they owned the place. I can assume it might be the larger, male — possibly a “silver back” in the lead, with smaller bears following behind. Like images of the famed Bigfoot that inhabits remote forested areas of the globe, even capturing a one-in-a-life-time documentary photo might not be sufficient to the task.