By Mary Reid Barrow, Photos by Steve Daniel
When Steve Daniel goes out walking with his camera, he jokingly likens himself to the blind squirrel looking for nuts.
“If you go out a lot, like the squirrel, you’ll eventually find something,” he said.
A case in point. A couple of weeks ago, Steve was heading out to Stumpy Lake with his trusty Nikon that has a 300-millimeter lens to take a nature walk, and he hit the jackpot. He came upon a huge congregation of great egrets on the lake.
“I didn’t know the migrating egrets had returned at Stumpy,” Steve said. “As I walked down there, it was jaw-dropping. I counted at least 100 of them.”
The egrets, probably some locals and some migrants, had gathered in the sheltered inland lake as egrets often do when fall comes. It was as if they were waiting for photographers to come along. Steve plans to enter one or more of his photos from that day in LRNow’s Photo Contest, and the deadline is not far away – November 15th.
Entering an occasional local photo contest, selling a few photo note cards at his church bazaar, and helping LRNow with photography as a member of its Public Relations Committee are about as close to professional photography as Steve gets. He worked for the Public Relations Department at Old Dominion University but was mostly involved with writing and editing and took up photography on the side, he said. Now photography is a hobby for him and a way to get outdoors and get exercise.
“I retired in 2014 and I have been walking with my camera ever since,”
“I know next to nothing about the camera,” Steve admitted. “I know enough to turn it on, focus it and shoot. It’s about getting out there.”
He enjoys getting out there, not only at Stumpy Lake, but also at First Landing State Park, Pleasure House Point, Chic’s Beach, and the Noland Trail in Newport News.
“Getting the occasional good picture of a bird, insect, flower, or tree on these outings is just icing on the cake,” Steve said.
His recent meet-up with the egrets was very special icing on the cake because egrets are his favorite bird. He grew up in Kentucky and said he never saw an egret until he moved to this area. He also loves to photograph red-winged blackbirds. He took the photos below of a great egret with two snowy egrets and a red-winged blackbird at Pleasure House Point.
Just like getting out there often, taking many photos makes the odds of a good one so much better, Steve said. He has been known to take 300 pictures or more on these outings!
“My son used to play basketball,” he added, “and he always said, ‘You miss every shot you don’t take!'”
Be like Steve. Get out there, take a lot of shots, and enter a good one in LRNow’s Photo Contest.