Here it is, my favorite image of 2016. As I had mentioned in part 1, I wasn’t able to go on any of my long trips that I typically do. I still found time to get out locally and was able to capture a fare amount of quality images including some new places I haven’t been to before. So I consider that to be a successful year.
My favorite image wasn’t my most popular even though it was up there. It wasn’t my most unique or breathtaking. There isn’t even a lot of special meaning behind the moment when I captured it. For me, it was just captivating and it pulled me in every time I saw it, which is the same goal I have for people viewing my work.
This year I was fortunate enough to live a few minutes from several canola fields (rapeseed). Canola is a crop that I have wanted to photograph for a while. The bright yellow flower is a great contrast for blue skies, sunsets, barns and is so different than most of the other crops on the Palouse. The first day I decided to head out and photograph the canola, my intentions were to explore and find some good compositions. This frame of mind is good for me because I can get tunnel vision sometimes when I have a specific shot in mind. When I arrived at the first field I didn’t have a lot of high expectations because it was next to highway and in the middle of a rural residential area. I still decided to drive around to see if there were any potential shots. I pulled off the highway and drove up the side road when about 100 yards in front of me a young buck walked across the road into the canola field. I stopped the car and quickly put my telephoto lens on my camera and double checked to make sure my settings for ready for wildlife. Then, I slowly drove up the road looking for the deer, which I had lost sight of. At this point I was starting to get excited about the potential for this shot. I was visualizing this buck just surrounded by canola. But I didn’t want to get ahead of myself because I needed to find the deer first. As I approached the spot where he crossed the road I started scanning the canola for him. I didn’t see any sign of him at first. Then, I saw this head pop up from the canola and he looked right at me. The Canola was so tall that when the deer put his head down to eat he disappeared. Now, I found him but I needed to get to a spot that I could pull over. Luckily, there was an intersection with a large area to the right where I could pull off the road and in front of the canola. I did my best to quietly park the car without spooking him. I carefully got out of the car and hid behind it using it as a blind. I was assuming this deer spent enough time in the area where it saw enough cars and new those they weren’t a danger to them as long as they kept some distance. As I began to photograph him I realized the canola was so tall I couldn’t get a clear shot of him. I opened the car door and used it as a step stool while resting my camera on the roof to stabilize it. This was just enough height to get a clear shot of the deer. The only issue now was the awkward way I was standing put a lot of stress on my back, which I have ongoing issues with, and was creating intense pain. There was no way I was going to miss this shot so I did my best to stay focused and suck it up. As I worked, the buck kept a close eye on me. He knew where I was and made sure to keep his distance while enjoying his dinner. Every now and then I had to switch doors to stand in and even move the car to get a better angle all the while the deer was getting his fill and working the camera like a runway model. After I felt I got what I wanted I did visit several other fields to look for shots but I was more focused on getting home to see my results. I followed up that day with several more trips to the fields. While I was looking for many different compositions, I was always hoping to see my friendly deer, snacking on the canola. On some of my trips I specifically went by the same field and waited to see if he or any of his friends would make an appearance but they never did. I look back and realize how fortunate I was to be in the right place at the right time with very cooperative wildlife.
This image has been on my bucket list for awhile. Every time I look at this photo I get caught up in it. Not sure if it’s because of the pure simplicity, the bright canola, the deer or everything, but it just makes me smile and I like when and image evokes that type of emotion in me. I hope you enjoyed it as well.
Buck in CanolaFound this young buck enjoying the rapeseed. The plants were so tall that at times he disappeared. Every so often he would stick his head up to see what was going on but wasn't to worried. In late may into June the rapeseed fields, aka canola start to bloom. They create a beautiful contrast and are common for landscape photographers to see out. This trip I got a pleasant surprise by something else that was also looking for the Canola.
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