Do I have the patience it takes to be a private eye?

Patience and a little luck combined for a great photographer of birds on the move.

This question comes up frequently as I work my way through all three seasons of “Jessica Jones” on Netflix. The physical strength of Jessica’s super-hero status certainly helps her out when confronted by bad people doing bad things. The combination of brawn plus brains definitely comes in handy in these cases.

Jessica’s superhero strength is equally matched by her superhero patience. Yes, patience can be a super-power. She has the patience to do a stake-out for days whereas sometimes I have just enough patience to get me through a red light.

I thought about patience the last time I was out in the field taking pictures. The thrill of finding a great photo shot keeps me going. The risk is, if something doesn’t pop out at me, I simply keep on driving. A scene catches my attention and I stop to take the picture. I don’t often sit down and wait for the opportunity to come to me. But giving someplace a mere thirty second window of worthiness might just make me miss my photograph of the year.

The thought of patience came to me as I recently strolled through a cemetery in search for some cool gravestone art. As I put my camera down to change the lens, a flock of red-winged blackbirds came swooping through the cemetery. No bird did something on its own. It was like the flock was part of a zombie collective with one mind directing all the actors. They all took flight at the same time and landed at the same time. The birds even performed a beautifully choreographed dance just to land in the branches of a neighboring tree. It made me proud to wait as long as I did before I had to grab the camera. The result was fantastic, if I don’t say (or, write) myself.

This is the image which came to me. This is the photograph given to me as an unexpected gift. There was nothing I needed to do in return except sit down and enjoy the show. Well, I did eventually reach for the camera. Letting things be without reacting to my need to take a picture of it is a constant struggle – and a perfect topic for a future blog post.

All in all, the birds got their chance to shine and I got a lesson in the wisdom of patience – with or without the superhero cape.

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Jeff Wallager
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