A Balancing Act

A picture, a captured memory, an indicator, a gauge of how we measure out world. When I am outdoors the visible light spectrum generally establishes my boundaries. Coastal trails are defined by measureless, blue horizons, mountain trails by snowcapped peaks while forested hikes are confined by surrounding vegetation. Other senses come into play but my eyes dominate and define.
Movement within one’s vision plays with one’s eyes. The erratic path of a butterfly, so unlike my purposeful forward moment, penetrated my thoughts. I paused to contemplate the delicate creature’s lack of direction and pondered its ability to survive. Settling among the ageing petals of a sego lily, it created a tiny, fragile, yet regal, display of magnificence.


A king on a throne. A few inches of space dared compete with the splendor of a mountain range. Two species combined to capture the perfection of Grand Teton, they combined and gave me direction. Eyes, trained to scan distance for movement, distance for clues, would shift their focus, they would begin to explore a smaller world. Rather than see leaves and flowers as part of a world, I would look at the world contained within. I was not deluding myself, I had no intention of any scientific study, I just wanted to drive curiosity in a different direction. I wanted to look at my trail from a different perspective, I wanted to look underneath the leaves and wonder.
My search revealed a world that amused, amazed, dazzled and fascinated.
I laughed at grumpy old men.


I watched sunlight flow, nourish and illuminate.


I found pollinators associating with predators.


Predators lying in wait.


Predation and death hidden beneath beauty.


My image reflected in a predator’s eye


I found the small corners supporting the dramatic vistas that have defined my mountains. I found a different cast, a cast I knew existed but tended to ignore, a cast supporting a familiar story, supporting the balance of nature. Within my chosen layer herbivores browsed while carnivores hunted. Violent death is not limited by size.
My layer is not isolated, I watched it reach above and below. It feeds life, directly and indirectly, in all layers. It is part of the whole, a part of why I walk among the leaves and peaks. I now walk with a better understanding of how little I know—a better understanding of balance.

Mike Bennett



5 thoughts on “A Balancing Act

  1. Well said, just as I have come to expect from these interesting writings. Your photographs are spectacular. Any one of us can capture a shot of any particular animal or insect. But the photos that you capture provide visual interest as well as sparking our imagination. Very well done. I was wondering about your equipment- what is your walk-about lens? It must be a macro. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and talent for photography. Enjoying every detail- the secret of life.


    1. Thank you for the compliments Terry. I have a high end bridge camera. My cousin http://www.wfb4.com has been in the industry for decades so I gave him my criteria and asked for recommendations. I did not want to carry multiple lenses. He suggested the Sony RX10 iii and, once I got past sticker shock, I have been very happy with the results. The Sony has a relatively small sensor (1 inch) but it is behind an awesome lens. I can go from 600MM equivalent to almost macro. A lot of versatility in one hiking package. It is heavy for hiking and I had planned to use it from my car but I like it so much I took it on a ten mile hike today (2,500 foot elevation gain over 5 miles). Mike


      1. The definitive test for any piece of photography equipment is the photos that are rendered. The photos that you have posted are superb. This camera has very impressive specs and I love having the f2.4 capability. The wide to telephoto capability is impressive- and no changing lenses in the wind and dust. Seems like the perfect camera for your hikes. You will never beat Sony and the Carl Zeiss lens. I like the burst rate for flying birds and with 20.1mp you can shoot wide and crop like crazy. Nice range on the ISO. Looks like you made a great buying decision.
        Again, great equipment like this can only go so far in producing a photo that causes us to give more than a fleeting glance. And you are using the equipment to offer photos that draw us into the environment that you love. Thanks for sharing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s