Expecting the Unexpected


“Art comes to us as simply
as a common bird perches
on a window sill or a tree  branch
or any other place, then flies away.”

 Jeffrey J. Watkins

Yea, I know. You are wondering if you are at the right place. I mean – I don’t “do” nature. And I don’t even like birds, with their beady little eyes and scaly feet.

But yes, it’s me, sharing with you my up-close-and-personal encounter with a NYC pigeon. My story of being open to the unexpected.

It was our last day in New York City. And even though visibility was extremely poor, the gray clouds hanging low, we found ourselves on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building – the final opportunity to use our pre-purchased tickets.

It certainly wasn’t ideal – but the weather kept the crowds away and we made it to the observation deck in record time.

And there she was – strutting her stuff on the terrace wall, 1,050 feet above the city.

Pigeons were certainly not on my mental list of desired photographic subjects for this trip. I fumbled and fretted, trying to catch a rapidly moving object- stand still, you silly bird – fighting my rising frustration. My normal subjects cooperate by remaining stationary – shooting a moving object is both a technical and creative challenge for me.

So, say hello to my pigeon friend – a lesson in perseverance – both mine and hers. If she can fly with grace at a thousand feet, then I can learn to open my heart and mind to other possibilities. To stop placing limits. To drop my preconceptions and expectations. To accept what comes and find the beauty there.


Linking with the October Edition of the Photo-Heart Connection, hosted by Kat Sloma

Textures by Kim Klassen


Posted on November 7, 2013, in Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. And you’ve processed your patient friend beautifully. I’m with you on the bird thing-glad to hear someone else say that. Glad you made it to the ESB-guess if the view wasn’t great, it’s a super excuse to go back to the city.

    • Susan – I guess we should start the “I’m-sorry-but-I-really-don’t-like-birds” club 🙂

      We visited the ESB years ago with the kids so I have experienced the view before. This time, the plan was to go at sunrise – but unfortunately the sun made the decision to stay behind the clouds. Still it was another great experience.

  2. You had me smiling immediately…! The portrait of Mr. Bird is fabulous. What is most intriguing is his piercing gaze and the look of…”I need to tell you something.” Beautifully captured and your words tell a wonderful story!

    • Suzette – she is probably thinking something along the lines of how she doesn’t really like people with their naked skin and ears that stick out from the side of their heads. I did manage to capture some of that pigeon attitude.

  3. This is beautiful, Brenda! You did really surprise me with this image — I had to laugh, as I found myself taking a photo of a goose last week, and I hate geese. You are a good role model for dropping expectations and being open, thank you. This message seems to be coming to me from different directions: I just read an email about saying yes to everything, instead of no.

    • Gina – oh, I don’t like geese either 🙂 Glad I was able to surprise you today. It was certainly a good lesson for me – I have a hard time letting go of my mental expectations of the way things “should” be and accepting the way things are.

  4. I love this…and yes, I had to check I was really on your blog! Love this image and your thoughts on being open to the unexpected.

    • Becs – there is certainly something gratifying about being able to surprise yourself and others. The fact that I was able to create a portrait of Ms. Pigeon was more about luck than anything else but I have grown rather fond of her personality and attitude.

  5. This image is a surprise–definitely not your usual fare–but I must say, it is among my favorites. I like how the pigeon’s plumage both blends and contrasts with the cloudy surroundings.

    It’s almost as if the two of you are on opposite sides of a battle, each studying the other to assess strengths, weaknesses, and motives. If that was the case, then it appears you won the battle by coming away with a beautiful image AND a photo-heart connection. Well done!

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