Flag Flight

I wish that I had Jesse’s job. Where can I find employment like that? ~ Rick Springfield

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If you look really carefully at this PIPL in flight, you can see his itty-bitty, green flag band poking out. Adorbz.

I recently had the good fortune of bumping into the world-class birder and phenomenal wildlife photographer Jesse Amesbury on the wild beach. Jesse’s third claim to fame is that he has the world’s greatest job: he actually gets paid to stroll the wild beach and look for Piping Plover. And here, this whole time, I’ve been practicing that art as a way to lose money.

Our conversation quickly turned to the two best topics in the world: PIPL & Photography. After discussing how dreadfully annoying it is to read Piping Plover bands, the conversation turned to flight shots. That’s when Jesse dropped this doozy:

Flight shots are so challenging, they are the real benchmark by which you can judge the true skill of the photographer.

Doh! Jesse had no idea what a shame inducing statement that was. Unbeknownst to him, I had just sat for 20 mins on the beach while five pairs of Oystercatcher flew around my head in circles repeatedly, fighting to control my beach as territory. I botched every single one of the two hundred or so flight photos I tried to take of this magnificent event. Before talking with Jesse, I had consoled myself in my failure like a toddler with such gems as, “Flight shots are stupid!” and “I didn’t even want a picture of that anyway!”

Inspired by his comment though, I decided to head back out and not return home until I had achieved at least on in-focus flight shot.

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Flag Flight. I can’t read that band, but I can see it. Bar is officially raised. My personal benchmark will now be being able to read PIPL bands from my own flight shots.
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V is for Victory if I can read a band (completely and correctly), in flight.

So there you have it. Taking flight shots and reading PIPL bands at the same time is the hot new way save time, check off two tasks with one maneuver, and drive yourself absolutely mad.