Tag Archives: Unphotographable

Downtown bald eagle

A photograph I did not take, of a bald eagle flying over downtown Madison.

I was waiting at a stoplight on University Avenue this morning, when a large bird in the sky caught my eye.  The dark wings and torso with white head and tail feathers were unmistakable.  It was a bald eagle flying over downtown Madison. A sign that today is going to be a good day.

It’s been reported that the number of bald eagle nests in Wisconsin have broken records the past few years. They’re becoming more common here in southern Wisconsin, and there have been a number of confirmed nests in the Madison area. It’s getting close to the time of the year when eagles begin nesting. Maybe the eagle I saw today was searching for a suitable spot to raise its young?

Bald eagle commute

A photograph I did not take, of a bald eagle flying 20 feet above the Yahara River in Tenney Park.

I spotted the eagle while I was inching along in the middle of heavy traffic on my morning commute. With the lakes frozen, I assumed the eagle was looking for a meal in the still-flowing river. I was so tempted to turn off, park the car, and spend some time wildlife watching. But you’ve got to pay the bills, so I continued on to work. I wonder if anyone else stuck in traffic noticed the majestic raptor in the middle of the city?

Smartphone hike

A photograph I did not take, of a woman and two children hiking in the woods on a gorgeous autumn day.

The woman was walking with her head down, staring at her phone. The youngest child, maybe 6 years old, was desperately (and unsuccessfully) trying to get the woman’s attention. The oldest child, about 10 years old, walked quietly and seemed resolved to the fact that at this moment, the phone was the woman’s top priority.

Nursing deer

A photograph I did not take, of a mother deer nursing two fawns.

I was bicycling on the Heart of Vilas County Trail and going at a good clip through a section of forest, when I first noticed a woman jogging on the trail a ways ahead of me. As I got closer, I looked in her direction again, and wondered why she had stopped. Then I saw them. Standing on the side of the trail about 10 yards away, were two fawns and their mother. As I hit the brakes hard they squeaked a bit, spooking the three to cross the trail and move off. They only walked about 10 yards further away from us when the mother deer stopped to check on the humans watching. As she stopped, one of the fawns decided it was time for a drink and started to nurse. The other joined in. They drank for a minute or two, and then moved deeper into the woods, out of sight. The woman and I chatted a bit about the wonderful scene we just witnessed. “That is why we vacation in Wisconsin” she said. Absolutely.


Posts in this category document photos that were not taken, of scenes I witnessed that deserve to be remembered. These were moments when I didn’t or couldn’t click the camera shutter. Moments that should not be forgotten, even though there is no photograph.

Inspired by Michael David Murphy’s blog, Unphotographable.

The one that got away

No pictures on this post, just a story about an encounter with a bald eagle and the photo that didn’t get taken.

While on vacation last week, I was biking the trail along Trout Lake, hoping to get some photos of loons. That portion of the trail runs along the lake shore, with a buffer of trees of about 10 feet. The trees make for a decent blind, so the birds don’t get scared away. I had seen loons (fairly close by) along that section of trail in the past and I was hoping for a good shot. I had my camera setup with a telephoto lens, ready to go in my bike’s saddle bag. At one point I did see some loons off in the distance a bit. I took a few photos, but they were a little too far away. Back on the bike I went, continuing to scan the nearby shore. Suddenly, a shadow overhead caused me to look up. There was a bald eagle swooping by, about 20 feet above me.

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