“To photograph is… when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”
— Henri Cartier-Bresson
Not long ago, I heard a squirrel making tracks across the roof of my house. I heard him on numerous occasions, and each time I would hear his little feet scurry across the tiles, I became more and more curious to see what my little animal friend looked like.
One morning, after hearing him dash across my rooftop, I went out into the yard and spotted him in a nearby tree. He could see me, but he did not move. I slowly and carefully took a large shelled pecan from my pocket and placed it on the top of a wooden fence. I then stood near the fence and waited. He spotted the treat almost immediately from his perch. I could tell that he wanted to eat the pecan very badly, but he was also still unsure. After a couple of short minutes, however, he must have decided that I was okay, because he cautiously walked over to within just a few feet from where I was standing and picked up the nut. Much to my delight, he did not run away with it, but instead sat upright, looked me straight in the eye, and hungrily nibbled away. I stayed very still, speaking quietly to him, telling him how polite I thought he was for staying near and eating it in my presence. As he nibbled, I even managed to take a photograph of him. (The image above.) When he finished the nut, he ran off into the tree again, turned around, and continued to watch me carefully from his branch.
After a moment, I very deliberately reached into my pocket and pulled out another delicious pecan. I showed it to him and then placed it in the same spot on the wooden fence. This time, he did not hesitate. He climbed down from the tree, loped over to where I stood, and picked up the nut in his little hands. Prudently deciding to save this one for later, he put it into his mouth, turned, and ran off. He swept quickly across the fence and lept onto the brick wall at the edge of my yard. With one last look at me, he flew across the top of the distant wall at lightning speed, and I managed to capture one more photograph. (That image –“Fleeting Reality” — can be seen here: http://bit.ly/2jaaRGP) He then disappeared into the trees and I returned inside, feeling very content about the events of the morning.