Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

Peacock blues

Marty’s photo of the day #2943: Each summer I move my office onto the front porch. Yesterday, I was busy there working on a project, when the caw of our resident peacock pierced the music I had playing. I looked up, and the peacock was 100 feet away, directly in front of the house. The peacock has lived on our property for many years, and though his calls often wake me in the morning, he’s very shy, and I’ve never been able to get close enough to him for the perfect picture.

I ran into the house and grabbed my camera. Wrong lens! I ran into the basement, grabbed my telephoto lens, and ran back outside. Where was the peacock? Finding a peacock in the forest is more difficult than you’d think. Eventually I found him, but he was in some tall grass and the sun was in my face. I had to get on the opposite side. I took a wide loop, stirring up clusters of hungry mosquitoes along the way. I needed to be careful. The peacock was aware of me, and if I got too close he would fly away. Once I made it to the proper side, he had walked into a cluster of trees. Every once in a while the sunlight would catch him and he’d glow. All the while, I was shooting photos, knowing that even though they weren’t perfect, they were better than nothing.

Having walked my land thousands of times, I knew of an opening in the forest where the grass wasn’t tall, and the sun would illuminate him in all his glory. And by now, my peacock herding skills were quite effective. Just a few more feet and I’d finally have the ultimate peacock shot. Wait for it. . . .  Wait for it . . . Now!

A message flashed on the back of my camera: Replace battery to continue.


So what you are looking at is the photo I shot fifteen seconds before I would have had the perfect image. Next time. . . . Next time I will be ready. I charged three camera batteries and have the proper lens mounted. The peacock owes me for all the early mornings he’s woken me up.

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