It does not matter whether you are an artist, photographer, writer or just a once in a while visitor to Presque Isle, this temperamental beauty has a long history of providing inspiration to countless people. I have found observing nature on the park is like learning anew to use my eyes, ears, nose and even my finger tips to capture a fleeting moment in time. A friend recently revealed that since he had been on the park almost daily for more than a year, his camera
always in hand, he feels he has learned to look at the world from a child’s point of view. Everything now seems new, fresh and beautiful, because he has no pre-disposed ideas floating about in his head. He has learned to enjoy birds, flowers, sunrises and the thousands of other subjects he finds while roaming Presque Isle.
An example of what I mean by capturing the moment happened two springs ago on Graveyard Pond Trail. I was just out walking and observing that day. No real plan for anything special. At about 10 a.m., I watched a bad-tempered Blue Jay chase a rabbit. He scolded and dived straight at the rabbit. His beak was constantly ready to deliver a hurtful blow. All the time, he was loud and noisy as he chased the rabbit around the field. After about 5 minutes, the rabbit must have had enough of this whole adventure, because he made his way into some thick underbrush and was quickly gone. Only by using all my senses was I able to capture this special moment in nature. By using my eyes and ears, I was able to observe and enjoy a scene many would have just walked right by.
One morning recently I was kneeing along the shoreline of Horseshoe Pond with my camera, waiting for a heron to continue his morning fishing expedition in the shallows. My waiting paid off as he moved closer and actually grabbed a small perch with his quick moving beak. I was able to get a fair picture. As I was packing my equipment, a fisherman who was observing my efforts, asked, “What are you going to do with that picture?”
As I thought about his question, I realized that many people who have not taken the time to experience nature and the real Presque Isle do not truly understand the wonders of nature right on their doorstep. What most people do not realize is that many artists, photographers and especially writers keep notebooks or journals to record their special moments.” Notes, drawings, sketches, photo and notes get tucked away for future use or reference. In effect, these people become information “pack rats.”
I have learned over the years that photographing and writing about nature is nothing more than adopting an attitude of seeking. Writing to me is all about seeking, observing and recording, in a notebook and with a camera, what I am able to see, hear, smell or touch within my adventures in the field. For me it seems, it’s the little things that seem to stand out as most important in my observations over the years. For example, how wonderful it feels in the warm calm of morning to watch a small pier emerge from a thick fog covering the lagoons. It seems to become an island of clarity in a tangled world.
When I say seeking, I am actually talking about simply walking, kayaking, waiting, sitting quietly and observing my surroundings. This is usually when the unforeseen happens. The creatures of the garden, woods, lagoons or ponds come out and resume their activities. They might just accept you, or as a friend tells me, he thinks they just forget we are there. However, it is truly amazing happens when you do nothing for 5 or 10 minutes in the wild. Do it once or twice and see the world comes alive all around you.
One evening last year, the continuous chirping of something I was unfamiliar with led me on a hunt in a small field slightly off Pine Tree Trail. The noise was loud and nearly constant. Whatever it was moved twice, and I, of course, followed. After about ten minutes, I caught up with it. There, perched on a wildflower, sat a Katydid. This was a new adventure for me as I had never seen anything other than a picture of one. They are really a different looking insect. They are quite unique.
My seeking has taken me on some unusual journeys. It is definitely random and can take me to the woods, swamps, water or beach depending upon what draws me in on a particular day. Maybe it’s a sunrise, a Katydid chirping, or seeing a Red Fox cross the road and scamper into the bush off Gas Well Trail. I have found random is good. By that, I mean that my best seeking usually begins and works well when something grabs my eye or ear and draws me in when I least expect it.
Presque Isle is full of natural adventures, and if you have children, I suggest you take them with you when you explore the park. Do not be surprised if they see and hear more than you. They have a fresh view of all facets of the natural world. They look it quite differently than you and I do. With or without children, whenever you walk, or even when you just drive on the park, observe what is going on around you. See the wildlife, the sunrise, the sunset and all that Presque Isle has to offer.
See you on the Park!!
This post was written by admin