My time at the Farmington Wildlife Refuge continues…..
Right now the hunting season is still open. The refuge has random check points for the hunters. I guess to keep them honest but more importantly so the DWR has an idea of the “harvest” each year. The hunters have been going out there for generations. In fact the refuge is really the culmination of hunters groups efforts.
The photographer population is growing dramatically. Especially when HUNDREDS of Bald Eagles arrive. The refuge is well known in several states for the photo opportunities of Bald Eagles. A big attraction. Just a few years ago the photographers were thin if not rare. Now the single dirt road may have a line of cars.
Some photographers have made a name for themselves. Not in a good vain. My son and I spoke with a DWR employee that through our discussion mentioned that the hunters are respectful of each other and the area. Few problems from what he was saying. When I asked about photo opportunities his blood pressure began to rise. “Photographers are a pain” I mentioned that a photographer had won an international contest with a photo that he took at the refuge. “Do you mean……” He knew the photographer by name.
” A pain in the ass” he proclaimed. He noted that photographers want the whole place to themselves. This one particular photographer even goes as far as to put up signs he has produced. Instructing other guests of the refuge as to how to act in presence. It was clear that his arrogance was unbecoming of him. The DWR employee stopped just short of saying that he wished photographers were not allowed in the refuge.
If you follow my blog you know I live out there (at least on sunday mornings and short stints after work). I have expressed my frustration with photographers that are not considerate of others. I have never said anything to other guests or posted signs. (though sometimes I wish I could) When a photographer invests a minimum of 20k in photography gear shouldn’t they have the advantage? NO. We already have the advantage with the reach of our lenses. Mine being the longest Nikon at 600mm. Photographers must be willing to do what the hunters do. Get up early. Dress appropriately. Walk sometimes great distances. Find an area away from the traffic area and most populated areas by guests. That’s where the real opportunities are.
The arrogant photographer that the DWR employee was talking about shoots from his car and a blind set up by the road side. Is he really expecting every guest to accommodate him when he is making no more effort than any other guest?
I shot the photograph above from my car. No blind. Roadside. Cartography. It’s one of my favorites. Bottom line? I did not notice any other guests. Though they were all around me. The shot was made with a 600mm lens and a 2x converter. Net 1200mm. Really I was the only one that saw the Heron.