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Point of View: My life as a wildlife photographer

OK, they're cute, but you try sitting in a bird blind for four hours without moving.

A few summers ago, a writer and I went to Eastern Egg Rock, Maine, to meet puffins through a program to reintroduce the locally threatened bird to its former habitat. I was equipped with my fast "bazooka lens," which weighs 25 pounds and is hard to hold steady - even balanced on a monopod. When you photograph wildlife, especially birds, you take the longest lens you can get your hands on.

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I sat alone inside the tiny wooden structure (in theory, hidden from the puffins), observing the adorable birds as they hopped in and out of the rocks, with or without tiny fish in their beaks.

A huge animal lover, I sometimes imagine what my life would be like if I had specialized in wildlife photography.... Imagine the noise of thousands of birds. Imagine lugging heavy camera equipment over rough terrain and dealing with inclement weather. Imagine the infinite patience it requires to wait for your subjects to appear, and then to do something photogenic. Imagine bird droppings - everywhere.

Or, maybe not. After several hours of watching the same behavior, I'm beginning to get bored. At least the writer has a person to interview in her blind. My human subjects seem so easy after this.


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