As I contemplated writing this week's A Little Salt column I was prepared to report to you, dear reader, that back when I could hold a camera steady enough to take a decent photograph I did not invest much, if any, time taking pictures of creatures that can fly. However, as I thought about it such a statement would not be accurate since I can recall on more than one occasion of taking such images, both for work and fun.
The biggest bird I have ever photographed would have to be an adult bald eagle. I have photos of them hunting in the sky over the Mississippi River and sitting in a tree on the lookout for their next meal.
One of my luckiest sequence of photos would have to be of an eagle I photographed on River Road in Hannibal. I managed to capture a series of three photos of the bird flying in my direction. In each image the bird's wings are in a different position.
Making me even happier about those photos is that the lighting is spot on and the focus is amazingly sharp. As I have said on numerous occasions regarding my photography, I would rather be lucky than good. On that day I certainly was lucky.
Without a doubt the smallest birds I have photographed are hummingbirds. Please note that referring to them in the plural is no mistake. I figured out early on that the old adage of the more the merrier certainly applies when attempting to photograph these colorful little energetic creatures since they will be more focused on each other than on someone holding a camera.
I have photographed hundreds of migrating birds flying in formation so high that it was impossible to tell what kind they were. I have also taken photos of several hundred or more birds feeding in a farm field that looked like a cloud rising off the ground when they all took off together.
I have taken pictures of cardinals eating at a feeder on a snowy winter's day and robins sitting in trees with their feathers fluffed up in an effort to stay warm on a frigid spring day.
While on beach vacations I could not resist taking pictures of seagulls which were patiently waiting for a bit of food to be tossed their way.
In downtown Hannibal I have raised a camera to photograph pigeons as they circled a church's bell tower as the setting sun created a colorful backdrop.
Among the types of birds I am confident in saying I have never photographed is a chicken, which someone might find a bit odd considering that I am a HEN-ley after all.
While I am not in the market for a chicken photo, that does not mean that the opportunity is not there if I were so inclined, despite living in the hood. I was reminded of that fact in recent days.
On Aug. 3, after casting ballots in Hannibal's sales tax vote, my wife, Nancy, and I decided to take a short walk near where we had voted. We had not gone far when we heard a rooster crowing somewhere near the eastern end of Hope Street. What made this feathered fellow so distinctive, aside from his urban location, was his raspy call. Imagine what a rooster would sound like after smoking three packs a day for a period of time.
While I could not recall the last time I had heard a rooster in the hood I did not have to wait long to hear another. That very evening, as Nancy and I were walking to the front steps of the Henley hacienda, after attending a meeting of the Hannibal City Council, we heard more crowing from nearby. It was obviously a different bird because it did not sound like a heavy smoker.
Because I saw neither rooster I have no way of knowing how photo worthy they might have been, but they both obviously felt they were something worth crowing about.