Sunday, November 14, 2010

You'd think gulls would have better depth perception

Long story ... Many, many years ago I was photographing in Pacific Grove, California. In a parking lot there were ground squirrels among the rocks that caught my eye, and, of course, the ubiquitous gulls. I had some bread in the trunk of my car and began tossing bits up into the air so that the gulls would soar up, hover, and I could photograph them against the sky.

It wasn't easy. I'd toss, lift camera, manually focus, click, then toss again. People began watching, gathering about. So I started showing off, holding a piece of bread in my hand, having the gulls swoop down and snatch it away. A near-sighted gull missed the bread and bit my thumb. Blood ensued. The crowd, knowing the show was over, moved on, leaving me alone in the parking lot wrapping Kleenex around my thumb. The scar remains, a reminder of younger, more foolish days, and of my timidity in not asking someone else to toss the bread for me.

In Yachats the other day, a car drove into the parking lot and two men got out, clutching bags of bread. The gulls immediately began gathering. The men tossed most of the bread onto the asphalt, but now and then would throw bits up into the air. Aha! I'm being given a second chance! I start shooting and then asked if they'd toss the bread up into a certain spot for me and could they get the bird(s) to hover a bit. Well, sure! And then one of them began holding the bread up and having the gulls snatch it from his hand. And wouldn't you know? I hear "ouch!" and the guy's shaking his hand.

Concerned citizen that I am, I immediately went over, asked if he was okay, did he need a Kleenex, and then showed him my scar. There we were, two kindred spirits, two fools in a parking lot. And my photos? Well, they're not so great, but I do like this one. Which was the last one before the guy got bitten. ©Carol Leigh

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