I received word today that Tim White had passed away. I didn’t meet Tim until late in his life. I watched him struggle as time and age took away his ability to pursue his photography. I’m told that he was a fantastic photographer but I never saw many of his images. Time was a villain there as well – his best work as trapped in film and this is now the age of digital.
I had never photographed a Prairie Chicken until Tim invited me to travel to Big Blue Ranch in southern Nebraska. They rent blinds to photographers. You are taken to the Lek before sunrise. You hear the Prairie chickens arrive in total darkness. As it gets lighter, you need to test the limits of your camera’s ISO to capture any image at all. The males challenge each other with random bursts of incredible speed. Just when it is bright enough to easily stop the action, the birds leave for the day.
It is easy to take hundreds of images but it’s hard to get one that makes you are completely happy. For me the fun is in the challenge. I need just about everything I have ever learned about nature photography in the early morning minutes. After that, I go home and review my work to see what I could do better next year.
As we go through life, we seldom know when one of our suggestions or rebukes changes the direction of someone else’s life. Tim changed my life for the better. I hope that I can pass on something I enjoy doing before I Shoot and Leave as well.