Everyone has a happy place. Mine is northwestern North Dakota the last week of October. That’s where you’ll find me chasing all things beautiful with my trusty camera. The fields are full of upland birds all looking their best.
It was Halloween and the last evening of our 10-day hunt. The conditions were fantastic. The wind was light, and the temperatures were cool enough for comfortable walking for my brother, me and my brother’s 18-month-old Deutsch Drahthaar, Marge.
We were hunting a section of public land teaming with upland birds. Sharp-tailed grouse, pheasants and Hungarian partridge were all present in great numbers, and we never knew what was going to get up when the dog went on point. We were down to the last hour of light when Marge started getting birdy. She worked up and over a slight rise to our left, and when we walked to the crest, we saw her just over the top on point. As things often happen that late in the season, the birds flushed as soon as they saw us. Fortunately they flushed away from the dog and flew low past my brother.
With the sound of the flush, my camera was up and clicking as I tracked the birds. It was over in seconds.
It was only after previewing the images that I realized that everything had come together perfectly. Perfect light, perfect flush, perfect image. I definitely was in my happy place!
—STEVE OEHLENSCHLAGER, STEVEOEHLENSCHLAGER.COM