Muir Beach Curlews | Mark Lindsay

Tomorrow is a great day for photos. July 4th is a gaudy holiday filled with silly hats, parades, flags, bunting, and an occasional Uncle Sam on stilts. My camera is ready, I just cleaned the sensor with some exotic (meaning expensive) cleaner and the batteries are charging. Today I'm doing business chores that keep things going, the unglamorous underpinnings of life.

One of the things I do regularly (and in anticipation of a photo shoot) is maintain my image database and clean it up. It's like dusting, it never ends and I never get the sense that I'm done with the job. Things merely seem better than they were before I got started. A bonus to the chore is that I always seem to find an image or two that I'd previously forgotten. The image library is ever growing and has exceeded my brain's capacity, not to mention the myriad hard drives that blink at me all day.

This morning I suddenly came across today's image. Unlike many photos I make, I distinctly remember the moment I clicked the shutter. A skein of curlews was rummaging around Muir Beach back in the winter of 2007. That winter was particularly rich with the sandpipers—I remember the feeling of exhilaration upon discovering them. They were there for months. And then, one sad day, they were gone. They'd migrated north for spring.

Thanks to photography, the captured moment will live with me forever. A curlew found a morsel on the beach and, with his fantastic beak, negotiated it down his gullet. It's the moment a photographer lives for—that feeling that you got the shot. And so here it is, rediscovered after two years of dormancy. I wonder how many other photos are waiting for me to rediscover them. It's a nice dilemma to have.