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Tall Tales with Jack

Edition #2

Posted by bob on Mar 4, 2012in Tall Tales With Jack

Holy cow! What a response from my first column. I appreciate the responses and invites received from our “Schools” program.


As promised sit back and enjoy another Tall Tale with me and “The Big Guy.” Travelling with my partner is sometimes thrilling and at other times downright scary. We are a team and our job is to capture nature at its best and worse as we travel across North America. Although I have four good legs “The Big Guy” is restricted to only one that works like it should. He’s aging and needs a new right hip and limps along while I want to run, jump and scramble up hills, into valleys and smell my way through the salt marshes we visit to photograph hundreds of migrating shorebirds.

“The Big Guy” decided he wanted to capture an endangered species of butterfly, The Nipisquit Ringlet, in the marshes of North Western New Brunswick in Canada. This pretty little marsh butterfly only lives in three salt marshes in the area and has a life span of two to three weeks. Capturing images of this little creature is a challenging. The best time of the day is early morning before they dry their wings in the rising sun and begin to fly. Have you ever tried to follow a butterfly in a breeze?

“The Big Guy” did for the longest time until I tugged on his rubber chest waders, after a few hours of watching his futile efforts, and pointed to the underside of a salt grass stem and suggested he try capturing that one. Voila! A picture of a Ringlet. I really don’t know what he’d do without my help? Coming from Mexico I am not a huge fan of the cold but I’ve learned to adjust and accept it if I want to travel across the country. However, I draw a line in the sand when “The Big Guy” forces me to venture into the marshes as the cold Atlantic tide is rising. My crazy partner gets his chest waders on and off he goes into the ankle deep water never paying attention to me and the fact that my legs are only four inches long. Besides I hate to swim, especially in the cold heartless Atlantic. Not only is it the swimming it’s the salt as well. My skin is so sensitive that when I’m forced to wend my way through the rising tide my skin dries out and then I begin to itch and it drives me crazy. Although my brain is much smaller than “The Big Guy’s” it functions much better, than his, most of the time. After thinking I would be left behind watching him venture off on another shooting spree thorough the marsh and jumping into the freezing water, to try and keep up, I came to the conclusion that I should wait and see. So I did. Once “The Big Guy” got himself situated and the tripod set-up for the shot he was hoping for I’d find a path to him by jumping from tuff of sea grass to tuff without touching the water.

I wouldn’t leave the comfort of my land base until “The Big Guy” got down in a prone position, in the water, and propped himself-up on his elbows watching the Ringlet and waiting for the appropriate light and look so he could create the best image. After all, photography is all about light and timing is everything. Early morning light is magnificent and makes the captures jump with life. The only trick is to locate the butterfly while it is covered with morning dew, that look like diamonds on a princess.

So while “The Big Guy” lies there, sometimes for hours, without moving I get to him and jump up on his back, make myself comfortable and enjoy the sun while my colleague gets himself wet and stiff while he lies there in the rising and descending tide. I keep trying to help him but he just won’t listen.

Then the fun begins; have you ever seen a walrus try and stand on his tail? You better believe I get out of the way the minute I see that butterfly fly. I know the shoot is over and I don’t want to get crushed if “The Big Guy” happens to fall like a tall timber as he makes his way to his feet. Could you imagine what I’d look like if that happened?

It did on another day and for awhile I looked like a sausage dog……I mean an Dachshund, that long short legged rat chaser. But that’s a story for another day. Until then……the motor home is leaving and I don’t want to miss another adventure with “The Big Guy.”

Your best friend:

Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux
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