Think Different -> See Different

Swish, swish, glide... swish, swish, glide... the pattern repeats on our journey to the sediment laden thickets. The river is glass and we're paddling towards Wisconsin. I can barely make out their prehistoric silhouettes against the orange glow of dawn; it's 5:20 a.m., Mothers' Day, and its us and the birds. 
I can hear the mating chorus of the spring migrants, and I begin to dream about my options. I've been here before... it's my third opportunity. Do I play it safe, freeze the action, capture the portraits, push for detail, or do I take a risk? Swish, swish, glide... we're getting closer.  

I turn around and face Brian, and it seems that we're in sync... It's time to stop... time to step out of the box... I think to myself, "create something different." The herons are flying into their nest, and the sun rise creates a deep black shadow. I've packed my Canon 7D with a 300 f2.8IS lens and an Olympus e-p1 with a 17mm f2.8 optic. These are my tools for the day and I want to make the familiar something unique.
Using the little Olympus I capture my town from the the canoe's point of view. Yeah we're damn close to nesting herons, but the town looks sublime in this early morning light. I now turn to face the birds, but all I can see is the bow of our boat against the reflection of the crepuscular glow... snap... snap... 
They're like B-1 bombers on a bombing run as they make their approach to a nest. With wings stretched and landing gear out the flight pattern appears to be erratic and confused. Like mosquitos swarming a sweaty body on a hot summers day, these birds are everywhere. I can't choose a subject, I can't lock in the focus. I think to myself... "slow it down, control the moment, be an artist."
I broke from the pattern and set my shutter speed to 1/60 of a second. I felt a bit nervous about the decision because I was taking a risk, and breaking  away from my norms. I knew that my pictures would not be sharp, but I also knew that I needed to think differently to see differently. So with the image stabilization engaged, I began to pan the herons as they crossed my field of view. I fired recklessly at the birds, yet each image seemed like an intentional effort. Following a series of shots, I began to ponder the outcome and I began to feel the anticipation associated with an unknown. I wanted to deviate from the work of my past, break the pattern, and challenge the norm.
Brian Poised to Shoot
Thanks for Another Great Shoot!
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